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By M. B. SYNGE. 


The Home of Abraham — Into Africa 
— An old Trade-Route — Joseph in 
Egypt— The Story of the Nile Flood 
— In a Strange Land — The Children 
of Israel — Back to the Fatherland — 
The First Merchant Fleet — Con- 
querors of the Sea — Early Pioneers 
— Hiram, King of Tyre — King Solo- 
mon's Fleet — The Story of Carthage 
—Out of the Shadowland— The Story 
of the Argonauts — The Siege of Troy 
— The Adventures of Ulysses — The 
Dawn of History— The Fall of Tyre 
— The Rise of Carthage — Hanno's Ad- 
ventures — Some more about Greece 
—A Cloud in the East— The Battle 
of Marathon — King Ahasuerus — How 
Leonidas kept the Pass — Victory for 

the Greeks — Some Greek Colonies— 
Across the Blue Waters — The Beauty 
of Athens — The Death of Socrates — 
Retreat of the Ten Thousand— The 
Story of Romulus and Remus — How 
HoratiuB kept the Bridge — Coriolanus 

— Alexander the Great — King of 
Macedonia— Conquest of the East — 
The Conquest of India — Alexander's 
City — Back to Rome again — A Great 
Conflict — The Roman Fleet — Han- 
nibal's Vow — The Adventures of 
Hannibal — The End of Carthage 

— The Triumph of Rome — Two 
Young Romans — Julius Caesar — The 
Flight of Pompey — The Death of 
CaBsar — The Empire of Rome — Pax 


The Roman World— A Great World 
Power — Voyage and Shipwreck — The 
Tragedy of Nero — The Great Fire in 
Rome — The Destruction of Pompeii 
— Marcus Aurelius — Decline of the 
Roman Empire — Christians to the 
Lions — A New Rome — The Armies 
of the North— The Dark Ages— King 
Arthur and his Knights — The Hero 
of Two Nations— The Hardy North- 
men—How the Northmen conquered 
England — A Spanish Hero — The First 
Crusade — Frederick Barbarossa — The 
Third Crusade — The Days of Chivalry 
— Queen of the Adriatic — The Story 
of Marco Polo — Dante's Great Poem 
—The Maid of Orleans— The Sea of 

Darkness — Prince Henry, the Sailor 
— A Famous Voyage — The Invention 
of Printing —r The Stormy Cape — 
Vasco da Gama's Great Voyage — 
India at last — The New Trade-Rioute 
— Golden Goa — Christopher Colum- 
bus — The Last of the Moors — Dis- 
covery of the New World — The West 
Indies — Columbus in Chains — A 
Great Mistake — Follow the Leader — 
Discovery of the Pacific — Magellan's 
Great Plan — Magellan's Straits — 
Round the World— The Finding of 
Mexico — Montezuma — Siege and Fall 
of Mexico — Conquest of Peru — A 
Great Awakening. 



Story of the Netherlands — Brave 
Little Holland — A Wealth of Her- 
rings — A Dutch Reformer — The 
Story of Martin Luther — The Diet 
of Worms — An Historic Scene — How 

the Trouble began — The Storm 
bursts — Beggars of the Sea — The 
Massacre of St Bartholomew — The 
Siege of Leyden — William the Silent 
— England — Elizabeth's Sailors — 

Drake's Voyage round the World — 
The Great Armada — Among the Ice- 
bergs—Sir Humphrey Gilbert — ^Vir- 
ginia — Story of the Revenge — Sir 
Walter Raleigh — The Fairy Queen — 
A Great Dramatist — The Golden Days 
of Good Queen Bess — First Voyage of 
the East India Company — The Story 
of Henry Hudson — Captain John 
Smith — The Founding of Quebec — 
The Pilgrim Father8--Thirty Years 
of War — The Dutch at Sea — The 
Great South Land — Van Riebeek's 
Colony — In the Days of Oliver Crom- 

well — Two Famous Admirals — De 
Ruy ter — The Founder of Pennsylvania 
— The * Pilgrim's Progress ' -— The 
House of Orange — William's Invita- 
tion — The Struggle in Ireland — The 
Siege of Vienna by the Turks — The 
Greatness of France — The Story of 
the Huguenots — The Greatest Gen- 
eral of his Age— The Battle of Blen- 
heim — How Peter the Great learned 
Shipbuilding — Charles XII. of Sweden 
— ^The Boyhood of Frederick the Great 
— Anson's Voyage round the World — 
Maria Theresa — The Story of Scotland. 


Thb Story of the Great Mogul — 
Robert Clive — The Black Hole of 
Calcutta — The Struggle for North 
America — George Washington, Soldier 
and Patriot — How Pitt saved Eng- 
land—The Fall of Quebec — "The 
Great Lord Hawke"— The Boston 
Tea- Ships — The Declaration of Inde- 
pendence — Captain Cook's Story — 
James Bruce and the Nile — The 
Trial of Warren Hastings — Marie 
Antoinette— The Fall of the Bastile 
— The Flight of Varennes— A Reign 
of Terror — Napoleon Bonaparte — 
Horatio Nelson — The Adventures of 
Mungo Park — The Travels of Baron 
Humboldt — The Beginning of the 
Struggle— The Battle of the Nile- 

Copenhagen — ^Napoleon, Emperor of 
the French— The Battle of Trafalgar 
— The Death of Nelson — A Second 
Charlemagne — The Rise of Welling- 
ton — At the Cape of Good Hope — 
The First Australian Colony — Story 
of the Slave Trade— The Defence of 
Saratoga — Sir John Moore at Corunna 
— The Victory of Talavera — The 
Peasant Hero of the Tyrol— The Em- 
pire at its Height — The " Shannon " 
and the "Chesapeake" — Napoleon's 
Retreat from Moscow — Wellington's 
Victories in Spain — Spain for the 
Spaniards— The Fall of the Empire- 
Story of the Steam-Engine — The Con- 
gress of Vienna — The Eve of Waterloo 
—Waterloo— The ExQe of St Helena. 


How Spain lost South America — 
Heroes of Independence — War in 
Greece — ^Victoria, Queen of England 
—The Story of Canada— The Fur 
Traders' Land — A Famous Arctic Ex- 
pedition — The Winning of the West 
—The Great Boer Trek— The Story 
of Natal — Livingstone in Central 
Africa — ^The Dream of Cecil Rhodes 
— Discoveries in Australia — The Last 
King of France — Louis Kossuth in 
Hungary — The Crimean War — The 
Indian Mutiny — The Awakening of 
Italy — Eling of United Italy — Civil 
War in America — The Land of the 
Rising Sun — Japan, Britain's Ally — 
China's Long Sleep — Russia and the 

Trans-Siberian Line — Founding the 
German Empire — The Franco- 
German War — The Mexican Revolu- 
tion — President Garfield — Expedi- 
tion to Magdala — The Gold Coast — 
Stanley's Discoveries — The Dutch 
Republics — The Founding of Rhodesia 
— Gordon and Khartum — Winning 
the Sudan — The Cape to Cairo — 
Where three Empires meet — An- 
nexation of Burma — Lesser Posses- 
sions — India and the Delhi Durbar — 
Dominion of Canada — The Australian 
Commonwealth — British South Africa 
— Death of Queen Victoria — Welding 
the Empire — Good Citizenship — 

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11. CAPTAIN cook's STORY 


















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24. COPBNHAGBN .... 















39. napoleon's retreat from MOSCOW 

40. Wellington's victories in spain 

41. SPAIN for the SPANIARDS . 

42. the pall of the empire . 

43. story of the steam-engine 

44. the congress op vienna . 


46. waterloo 

47. the exile op st helena . 
teacher's appendix . 


























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" Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall 


The wonderful story of England's conquest of India 
reads, even to-day, like some fairy legend of the 
Old World. 

It is the story of how one small island, away in 
the Northern seas, conquered an empire ten times 
its own size, at a distance of 6000 miles. In the 
ages of long ago, when the Egyptians were building 
their pyramids, when the Phoenicians were sailing 
to the Pillars of Hercules, when the Greeks were 
adorning Athens and the Romans were spreading 
their empire far and wide, this England was still 
sleeping on the waves of the boundless sea. 

It was not till after the Roman Empire had 

fallen, not till the Portuguese had found their way 

^ across the Sea of Darkness to India, not till the 

BK. IV. A 

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Spaniards had discovered the New World, that 
England awoke to a sense of the great possibilities 
that lay before her. Slowly and surely, from this 
time onwards, she stretched forth her arms over 
the broad seas that had once been her barriers, 
until, by her untiring energy, she won for herself 
an empire ''on which the sun never sets." 

Her first great conquest was that of India or 
Hindostan — the land of the Hindoos. It is a 
country cut off from Asia by a lofty range of 
mountains known as the Hima-laya, or snow abode. 
Here are some of the highest peaks in the world, 
never scaled by man. Here, too, rise the largest 
rivers in India — the Indus and the Ganges, on 
which most of the large towns are built. Most 
of the country lies within the tropics. Hence it 
is a land of wondrous starlight and moonlight, a 
land of whirlwind and tempest, of pitiless sun and 
scorching heat. Here to-day, as of old, are men 
with dark faces and long beards, dressed in turbans 
and flowing robes — men for the most part Mo- 
hammedans, praying at intervals throughout the 
day, with their faces toward Mecca. 

At the time that Alexander the Great ^ entered 
India,— r327 years before the birth of Christ, — the 
land was parcelled out into a number of small 
kingdoms, each under the government of its own 
Raja. Each Raja had a council known as the 
Durbar. When a Raja conquered other Rajas he 
^ See Book I. chapter 40. 

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was known as a Maha-raja or Great Raja, and 
all these words are used in India to-day. 

In the sixteenth century a race of Mongols or 
Moguls swept into India from Central Asia and 
founded an empire in the north. Marco Polo ^ had 
heard a great deal about these Mongols when he 
was at the court of the Great Khan. The first of 
the Mogul emperors was called Baber, or the Tiger ; 
but he was succeeded by a yet more famous grand- 
son called Akbar, whose power is spoken of still 
in India to-day. Akbar added to the Mogul 
Empire until it became the most extensive and 
splendid empire in the world. In no European 
kingdom was so large a population subject to a 
single ruler, or so large a revenue poured into the 
treasury. The beauty and magnificence of the 
buildings, the huge retinues and gorgeous decor- 
ations, dazzled the eyes of those accustomed to 
the pomps of Versailles.^ 

But under the Great Mogul Aurangzeb, the 
*' Conqueror of the Universe," the empire reached 
the height of its glory. He had usurped the 
throne, put his father into prison, and murdered 
his three brothers. His crown was uneasy, but 
secure. At Delhi he held his magnificent court. 
Here was the palace of the Great Mogul, built on 
the river Jumna, a tributary of the Ganges. The 
magnificent gateway of the palace was guarded by 
two huge elephants of stone, each bearing the 
1 See Book II. chapter 23. ^ gg^ Bqq]^ jjj. chapter 44. 

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4 ' AURANGZEB, [.1618-1707. 

colossal statue of a Raja warrior on his back. Here 
too was the grand hall of audience, where the 
Durbar was held. The ceiling was of white marble, 
supported by thirty marble columns, bearing an 
inscription in gold : " If there be a Paradise on 
earth, it is this." The throne was in a recess at 
the back of the hall, and over the throne was a 
peacock made of gold and jewels, valued at a 
million pounds. 

One day Aurangzeb was sitting on his throne at 
a Durbar at Delhi, when his old tutor appeared 
before him. The Great Mogul had suddenly 
stopped his pension, and he had come to know 
the reason. Aurangzeb gave him the explanation 
in public. 

''This tutor," he cried, "taught me the Koran 
(Mohammedan Bible) and wearied me with rules of 
Arabic grammar, but he told me nothing at all of 
foreign countries. I learnt nothing of the Ottoman 
Empire in Africa. I was made to believe that 
Holland was a great empire, and that England 
was bigger than France." 

When his birthday came round the Great Mogul 
was weighed in state, and if he was found to weigh 
more than on the preceding year there were great 
public rejoicings. All the chief people in the 
empire came to make their offerings : precious 
stones, gold and silver, rich carpets, camels, horses, 
and elephants were presented to him. He had 
tents of red velvet embroidered in gold. He 

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The Great Mogul. 

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had seven splendid thrones, — one covered with 
diamonds, one with rubies, one with pearls, one 
with emeralds, though the Peacock Throne was 
the most valuable. While the Great Mogul was 
on his throne, fifteen horses stood ready on either 
side, their bridles enriched with precious stones. 
Elephants were trained to kneel down before the 
throne and do reverence with their trunks. The 
Emperor's favourite elephant was fed on good meat, 
with plenty of sugar and brandy. 

Aurangzeb himself was nearly one hundred years 
old when he died. Suspicion lest his sons should 
subject him to the fate which he had inflicted on 
his own father left him a solitary old man. As 
death approached terror and remorse seized him. 
" Come what may,'' he cried desperately at the last, 
" I have launched my vessel on the waves. Fare- 
well ! farewell ! farewell ! " 

So passed the last of the Great Mogulr^ who ruled 
for over two hundred years in India. The empire 
was soon after broken up, and the wa^"" left clear 
for England to found her great Eastern Empire 
beyond the seas. 

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" Clive kissed me on the mouth and eyes and brow, 
Wonderful kisses, so that I became 
Crowned above Queens — a withered beldame now 
Brooding on ancient fame." 

—Kipling (Madras). 

During the forty years after the death of Aur- 
angzeb a great change passed over India. The 
great Mogul Empire was broken up ; enemies in- 
vaded the land from north and south. They preyed 
on the defenceless country, they marched through 
the gates of Delhi and bore away in triumph the 
Peacock Throne and all its priceless jewels. 

From the time of Alexander the Great little 
intercourse had been held between Europe and 
the East. But from that May day in 1498, when 
Vasco da Gama^ and his brave Portuguese sailors 
stepped ashore at Calicut, • there was constant 
communication with the ports on the western 
coast. For some time Portugal had claimed ex- 
clusive right to her Indian trade, but after a time 
Dutch ships sailed to her eastern ports. The enter- 
prise of Holland roused commercial enthusiasm in 
England and France until these three nations had 
established trading stations in the East. 

The Dutch headquarters was at Batavia ; the 
French at Pondicherry, on the east coast of India ; 

^ See Book II. chapter 32. 

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8 DUPLEIX. [1697-1763. 

the English at Madras, some eighty miles to the 
north. The governor of Pondicherry was a French- 
man called Dupleix. He was the first European 
to see the possibility of founding an empire on the 
ruins of the Great Mogul, though it was reserved 
for the English to carry out his wonderful idea. 

Neither the French nor the English traders knew 
much about the government of India at this time. 
They knew that they paid a yearly rent to the 
native ruler or Nawab, who lived in Oriental 
splendour at the city of Arcot, some sixty-five 
miles west of Madras. This Nawab of Arcot was 
in his turn under the Nizam of Hyderabad, and 
both in the old days were under the Great Mogul. 

Dupleix, fiiU of his dreams of empire, saw that 
his first step must be to capture the English trad- 
ing station of Madras. England and France were 
at war, so he seized this opportunity of attacking 
Madras, which was but poorly defended, and carried 
oif the English in triumph to Pondicherry. Here 
all was joy and gladness. Salutes were fired from 
the batteries, Te Deums were sung in the churches. 
The Nizam came to visit his new allies. Dupleix, 
dressed in Mohammedan garments, entered Pondi- 
cherry with him, and in the pageant that followed 
took precedence of the native court. He was de- 
clared Governor of India from Hyderabad to Cape 
Comorin, a country the same size as France itself; 
he was given command of seven thousand men ; he 
ruled over thirty millions of people with absolute 

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1725-1774.] ROBERT CLIVE. 9 

power, and the Nizam himself became but a tool 
in his hands. 

It was at this moment that the genius and valour 
of a single young Englishman, Robert Clive, 
changed the whole aspect of affairs, and won the 
empire of India for England. 

" Clive," said a Frenchman afterwards, " under- 
stood and applied the system of Dupleix." 

Robert Clive was the eldest of a large English 
family. He was born in Shropshire in the year 
1725. At a very early age he showed that he 
had a strong will and a fiery passion, "flying out 
on every trifling occasion." The story is still told 
in the neighbourhood of how "Bob Clive," when 
quite a little boy, climbed to the top of a lofty 
steeple, and with what terror people saw him seated 
on a stone spout near the top. He was sent from 
school to school, but made little progress with his 
learning. Instead, he gained the character of being 
a very naughty little boy. True, one far-seeing 
master prophesied that he would yet make "a great 
figure in the world," but for the most part he was 
held to be a dunce. Nothing was expected from 
such a boy, and when he was eighteen his parents 
sent him off to India, in the service of the East 
India Company, to "make his fortune or die of 
a fever.". 

His voyage was unusually long and tedious, last- 
ing over a year. At last he arrived at the port of 
Madras — a barren spot beaten by a raging surf — 

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10 olive's attack OS ARCOT. [l751. 

to find himself very lonely and very poor in a 
strange land. He found some miserably paid work 
in an office, but he was shy and proud and made 
no friends. Moreover, the hot climate made him ill. 

" I have not enjoyed one happy day since I left 
my native land," he cried piteously. Twice, in 
desperation, the poor home-sick boy tried to shoot 
himself, but twice he failed. 

" Surely," he cried at the second failure — *' surely 
I am reserved for something great." 

So it happened that Robert Clive was at Madras 
when the French came and carried away the English 
captives to Pondicherry. Disguising themselves as 
natives, in turbans and flowing robes, Clive and 
some friends managed to escape to another English 
trading station. There was no more office work 
to be done at present, and Clive, together with 
hundreds of other Englishmen, entered the army 
to fight against the French. His bravery and 
courage soon raised him above his fellows, and he 
became a captain. 

Clive was now twenty-five. He saw plainly that 
unless some daring blow were aimed at the French 
soon, Dupleix would carry all before him. He 
suggested a sudden attack on Arcot, the residence 
of the Nawab ; and though the scheme seemed wild 
to the point of madness, he was given command of 
200 Europeans and some native troops to march 
against the town. 

Arcot was sixty-five miles away. The fort was 

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known to be garrisoned by 1100 men, but Clive 
marched bravely forth. During the march a terrific 
storm arose. The rain swept down in a deluge on 
the little army, the lightning played around them, 
the thunder pealed over their heads ; but they 
pushed on through it all, undajunted in their des- 
perate undertaking. Tidings of their fearless en- 
durance reached the town before them. A panic 
seized the native garrison : they abandoned the 
fort. Not a shot was fired, and Clive with his 
500 men entered the city in triumph. The young 
boy-captain had already won a deathless renown. 


" Clive it was gave England India." 

— Browning. 

It was not likely that the spirited little army 
should be left in undisputed possession of Arcot, 
and Clive now prepared for an inevitable siege. 
Soon 10,000 men had swarmed into the place, 
hemming in the garrison on every side. Days 
grew to weeks, and the ready resource of Clive 
alone saved the situation. The handful of men — 
European and native — caught the spirit of their 
leader, and each became a hero. History contains 
no more touching instance of native fidelity than 
that related of the men who came to Clive, not 
to complain of their own scanty fare, but to propose 

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" that all the grain should be given to Europeans, 
who required more nourishment than the natives of 
Asia. The thin gruel, strained away from the rice, 
would do for them," they said. With such as these 
Clive held the fort for fifty days. 

At last the French resolved to storm the town. 
Clive busied himself with preparations. In the 
evening he threw himself down to sleep, utterly 
tired out ; but he was soon awakened, and at his 
post in a moment. The French attacked in strong 
force. They had brought with them huge elephants, 
with great pieces of iron fixed on their foreheads, 
to try and break down the gates. The English 
fired on them ; and the unhappy creatures, unused 
to firearms, turned round and fled in their fright 
into the midst of the French, trampling many 
under foot. Night fell, and Clive, with his little 
band of weary men, passed an anxious time. 
Morning dawned to find the enemy had melted 
away. The siege of Arcot was ended. The 
growing power of the French in India was arrested. 
Robert Clive was the hero of the hour. 

Indeed, not long after this Dupleix was recalled 
fi'om the East by Louis XV., his dream of empire 
ended, to die in France heart-broken. 

But India's troubles were by no means at an end. 
English trade in the East was growing, and the 
English had long ago established a trading station 
at Calcutta on the river Hoogly, one of the mouths 
of the Ganges. They had had no water-way at 

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Madras ; but here, at Calcutta, they had been able 
to penetrate inland and annex some of the sur- 
rounding country, known as Bengal. 

Now the Nawab of Bengal hjated the English. 
His imagination was fired with fabulous stories 
of the vast wealth stored up in the treasury at 
Calcutta So he collected a huge army, and in 
the year 1756 he appeared on the outskirts of the 
town. The English were taken by surprise, — they 
had no Clive to lead them to victory, — and the 
Nawab took Calcutta with ease, making 146 
prisoners. But the treasury did not yield the 
vast riches he had been led to expect, and he 
wreaked his revenge on the luckless prisoners. 
It was a hot night in June when the 146 
English captives were driven by clubs and swords 
into a little room some twenty feet square, with 
only two small gratings at the entrance to let in 
air. The " Black Hole " had been built to shut up 
troublesome soldiers : it was intended to hold four 
or five at a time. To cram in 146 human beings 
was to court slow but certain death. The day had 
been fiercely hot, the night was sultry and stifling. 
Not a breath of air could enter to relieve the suifer- 
ings of the Europeans, too tightly packed into the 
small space to move. In vain they cried for mercy ; 
in vain they appealed to the guards in their agony. 
The guards only replied from outside that the 
Nawab was asleep, and none dared wake him or 
remove a single prisoner without his leave. Then 

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followed cries for water. A few water-skins were 
brought to the gratings, but in the mad struggle 
to reach it many were trampled to death. The 
heartless guards only held burning torches to the 
gratings and mocked at their frantic struggles. As 
the long night passed away the struggles ceased, 
the screams died away, and a few low moans were 
the only sounds audible. Morning dawned at last. 
The Nawab awoke and ordered the doors to be 
opened. Twenty - three fainting people alone 
staggered forth : the rest lay dead in heaps upon 
the floor. And even to-day, though nearly 150 
years have passed away since that horrible crime, 
the Black Hole of Calcutta cannot be mentioned 
without a shudder. 

The tale of horror thrilled through the British 
Empire. All eyes turned to the young hero of 
Arcot to avenge the wrongs done to his country- 
men, and Robert Clive was soon hurrying to the 
scene of action. 

Early in January he arrived at Calcutta, and 
soon the British flag was waving above the town. 
Meanwhile the Nawab was waiting for him at 
Plassey, some ninety -six miles to the north of 
Calcutta, with a tremendous army, at least twenty 
times the size of Clive's. Clive was marching- 
north, hoping for help to be sent, but he reached 
the banks of the Hoogly with a force wholly in- 
adequate for the work before him. He was in a 
painfully anxious dilemma. Before him lay a wide 

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river, across which, if things went ill, not one 
would ever return. For the first time in his life 
he shrank from the fearful responsibility of making 
up his ,mind. He was but thirty-two at the time. 
He called a council of war. Should they attack 
the mighty force before them with their little band 
of men, or wait for help ? 

'* Wait for help," said the ofiicers ; and Clive 
himself agreed with them. 

But still he was not satisfied. He retired alone 
under the shade of a tree near by, and spent an 
hour in the deepest thought. Then he returned to 
the camp. He knew his mind now : he was deter- 
mined to risk everything. ''Be in readiness to 
attack to-morrow," he cried. 

The river was soon crossed, and Clive with his 
army took up his quarters in a grove of mango- 
trees, within a mile of the enemy. He could not 
sleep. All night long he heard the sound of drums 
and cymbals from the vast camp of the Nawab. 
He knew but too well the fearful odds against 
which he would fight on the morrow. 

The day broke — "the day which was to decide 
the fate of India." 

An hour after the battle began, all was over. 
The Nawab had mounted a camel and was in full 
flight, and the great native army was retreating 
in wild disorder. Clive stood triumphant on the 
battlefield of Plassey. With a loss of twenty- 
two men he had scattered an army of nearly 

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60,000, and subdued an empire larger than Great 
Britain. The " heaven-born general " was conqueror 
not only of the battlefield of Plassey, but of the 
British Empire in India. 


" Few, few were they whose swords of old 
Won the fair land in which we dwell, 
But we are many, we who hold 
The grim resolve to guard it well." 

— Bkyant. 

" It was the volley fired by a young Virginian 
in the backwoods of America that set the world 
on fire." 

So said the great English minister Horace 
Walpole. Let us see why that volley was fired. 

While the English and French were fighting for 
the mastery of India away in the East, a great 
struggle was going on between the same two 
peoples — New England and New France — for the 
mastery of North America in the Far West. Clive 
had fought till the English flag waved over the 
cities of Madras and Calcutta. Now Wolfe was 
to fight in America till the English flag waved 
from the capitals of Quebec and Montreal. 

At present the lilies of France floated over these 
towns. They had floated there since the early days 
when the first Frenchman — Jacques Cartier^ — 
1 See Book III. chapter 29. 

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broke the solitude of this distant wilderness. 
Canada was the seat of French power in North 
America. French Canadian life centred round 
Quebec and Montreal, on the banks of the river St 
Lawrence. Here, in the castle of St Louis, upon 
the famous rock of Quebec, sat the all-powerful 
governor of Louis XV., King of France. A new 
governor had recently been sent out— a man who 
viewed his country's prospects in America with the 
keenest anxiety. He knew full well the rivalry that 
existed between France and England in that land 
of the Far West. The English had already viewed 
with distrust the long arms stretched out by France 
over the fur-bearing regions around Hudson's Bay. 

But it was in the south that the coming storm 
was now brewing ; it was to the south that the 
French governor was looking with those dreams of 
empire that inspired Dupleix to conquer Southern 

From the Canadian lakes southwards stretched 
a dense "ocean of foliage," broken only by the 
white gleam of the broad rivers Ohio and Missis- 
sippi. The beautiful valleys formed by these large 
rivers reached to the French settlement of New 
Orleans, on the Gulf of Mexico. At distant in- 
tervals, faint wreaths of smoke marked an Indian 
village : otherwise all was solitude. The country 
was unclaimed, for the most part, by either French 
or English. 

Now these two rivers, the Ohio and Mississippi, 

BK. IV. B 

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practically cut North America in two. A cork 
dropped into the small stream that rises near Lake 
Erie, not far from the Falls of Niagara, would flow 
out through the mouth of the Mississippi at New 
Orleans into the Gulf of Mexico. 

On the sea side of these rivers lay the thirteen 
English colonies, fronting the broad Atlantic Ocean. 
These colonies were under no one local governor : 
each was independent, the only tie holding them 
together being their allegiance to the mother 
country. Each colony had started life on its own 
account. There were the colonies founded by the 
Pilgrim Fathers,^ by the Puritans, by the Quakers. 
There were colonies of English, Irish, and Scotch, 
and each colony had its own governor. Thus the 
English possessions at this time consisted of a 
long straggling line of little quarrelling Common- 
wealths, resting along the sea -coast between the 
Atlantic and the Ohio river and Alleghany moun- 
tains. Both France and England now claimed the 
Ohio valley, and there was little doubt that some 
day their respective claims must be settled by the 
sword. No treaty could touch such debatable 
ground ; no one could adjust the undefined boundary 
in this far-distant land. 

One day, in the summer of 1749, the French 

governor started a small expedition to explore the 

country about the river Ohio. It was the first of 

many such. Slowly but steadily the French pushed 

* See Book III. chapter 30. 

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farther and farther down the valley of the Ohio. 
They built fort after fort, until suddenly the 
governor of the English colony of Virginia became 
aware of what was happening. 

He selected a young Virginian, George Washing- 
ton, to go and protest against such encroachment. 
He was to march to the last new French fort, with 
a note from his English governor, expressing a 
hope that the French would at once retire from 
British territory, and so maintain the harmony at 
present existing between the two countries. 

It was late autumn ; but George Washington 
pushed manfully through the dripping forests with 
his little band of men, till he reached the fort. 
He delivered his message, and started home with 
the first formal note of defiance from France to 
England. After a three months' absence and 
numerous hairbreadth escapes, young Washington 
rode into Virginia with his ominous message from 
the French. 

There was danger ahead. The French were 
pushing their dreams of empire too far. The 
Governor of Virginia exerted himself more vigor- 
ously. He too would build forts on the Ohio. In 
the early spring of 1754, a little band of Virginians 
was sent to build a fort in a spot where two large 
streams meet to form the river Ohio, a spot to 
become famous later as the site of the city of 
Pittsburg. But the French were there already, 
and they soon tumbled the forty Virginians back 

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20 GEORGE WASHINGTON. [1732-1799. 

again into their English settlements. Washington 
was now sent with 150 men to the French fort 
on the Ohio. He was marching on through the 
pathless wilderness, when news reached him that 
the French were advancing to clear the English 
out of the country. 

Taking forty men, Washington groped his way 
through a pitch-dark soaking night to the quarters 
of a friendly Indian chief. The news he found was 
but too true. There was not a moment to be lost. 
At daybreak he stole forth and found the French 
lying in a ravine. He gave orders to fire. A 
volley was given by his men and returned by the 
French. Their commander was slain, and the 
French were all taken prisoners. 

And so the war began. 

''It was," as Horace Walpole had said — "It 
was the volley fired by a young Virginian in the 
backwoods of America that set the world on fire." 


"Washington— the perfect citizen."— Emeeson. 

The "young Virginian" spoken of by Horace 
Walpole was destined to do great things for 
England in America. The stories of his boyhood 
shado^y forth his wonderful career. 

George Washington was born on February 22, 

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1732, in a little farmhouse on the Potomac river 
in Virginia. His great-grandfather had sailed over 
to America in the days of Oliver Cromwell, and 
his father was now a successful landowner. The 
eldest son, Lawrence, was sent to England to be 
educated, but George was taught by the village 
sexton at home. He led a free open-air life, 
playing in the meadows, and grew up to be a 
manly and truthful boy. 

One day his father gave him a hatchet, and the 
little boy had carelessly tried its edge on the bark 
of a young English cherry-tree which was much 
valued by his father. The bark was injured, and 
Mr Washington was seriously displeased, and began 
to question the servants as to who could have done 
such a thing. 

" I did it, father," suddenly said George, looking 
him straight in the face and holding out the 
hatchet, which he knew he must forfeit; "I did 
it with my new hatchet." 

" Come to my arms, brave boy," said his father, 
drawing George to him ; " I would rather every tree 
I possess were killed, than that you should deceive 

When he was about eight years old the big 
brother Lawrence returned from England, and soon 
a very strong friendship had sprung up between 
the two brothers. Not long after his return to 
Virginia he volunteered for service in the West 
Indies, and George saw him depart, in his soldier's 

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22 Washington's bules. [1742. 

uniform, to the martial sound of drum and fife, 
with a heavy heart. But a martial spirit had been 
aroused in the boy, and from this time forward his 
favourite occupation was playing at soldiers. A 
stick or broom -handle served for gun or sword, 
the meadow by the river was the battlefield, and 
George Washington was always the commander-in- 
chief He was a good-looking boy, tall and straight, 
athletic and muscular. He bore a high character 
at home and also at school. 

" George has the best writing-book in the school," 
his master used to say. 

After his death, among hia papers was found an 
old copy-book — which must have been written 
about this time — in a quaint schoolboy handwriting. 
It was called "Rules for Behaviour in Company 
and Conversation," and there were no less than 
one hundred of these rules carefully copied out. 
Here are a few of them : — 

" Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust." 

" Undertake not what you cannot perform, but 
be careful to keep your promise." 

" Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of 
another, though he were your enemy." 

"Make no show of taking delight in your 
victuals ; feed not with greediness, lean not 
on the table, neither find fault with what 
you eat." 

" Labour to keep alive in your breast that little 
spark of celestial fire called Conscience." 

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After his father's death in 1743, George went 
to live with his beloved brother Lawrence, who was 
now married and living at Mount Vernon in 
Virginia. Here he rode and hunted, helped to 
survey the surrounding country, and heard much 
talk of the disputed boundary between the French 
and English possessions in North America. War 
was in the air. 

Virginia was now divided into military districts. 
At the age of nineteen George Washington found 
himself in command of one of these. So capable 
a soldier did he become, that, two years later, he 
was the '* young Virginian" selected by the 
Governor of Virginia to carry his message a 
thousand miles across country to the French. The 
story of how he delivered that message, and its 
answer, has already been told. 

From this time, George Washington was a 
marked man and a public character. His name 
was known in the Court at Paris as well as in 
London, and it was to him the Virginians now 
looked to help them in their troubles. They did 
not look in vain : Washington was one of the 
greatest men America ever produced. His great- 
ness did not consist so much in his intellect, in his 
skill, or in his genius, but in his honour, his utter 
truthfulness, his high sense of duty. He left 
behind him, when he died, one of the greatest 
treasures of his country, the example of a stainless 
life — of a great, honest, pure and noble character — 

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a model for his nation to form themselves by in 
all time to come. 

" No nobler figure ever stood in the forefront of 
a nation's life." He was, as Emerson, the great 
American thinker, had said, a " perfect citizen." 
He was, as a fellow -citizen said after his death 
in 1799, "The man first in war, first in peace, and 
first in the hearts of his fellow-citizens." 


* If England to itself do rest but true." ' 

— Shakspere. 

When war was formally declared between France 
and England in 1756, it seemed as if the dreams 
of a French empire in America might indeed be 
realised. Louis XV. of France had sent the 
Marquis de Montcalm to press the boundary claims 
of Canada, and soon a long chain of forts threatened 
to cut off the English coast colonies from any possi- 
bility of extending their lands in any direction. 
The colonies themselves were hopelessly divided, 
and, so far, England had not awakened to a sense 
of her great responsibilities with regard to her 
empire beyond the seas. 

Besides this, there were constant alarms of a 
French invasion on her own shores. An English 
fleet had just retreated before the French ; Minorca, 

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1708-1778.] WILLIAM PITT. 25 

the key to the Mediterranean, had fallen into the 
hands of France ; while Dupleix ^ was apparently 
founding a Fi-ench empire, in India. 

A despair without parallel in history took hold 
of English statesmen. 

" We are no longer a nation," cried one English 

He did not know that England was on the eve 
of her greatest triumphs in America as well as in 
India. It was this dark hour that called forth the 
genius of William Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham, 
one of the greatest statesmen England ever had. 
He was the son of a wealthy governor of Madras. 
He had sat in Parliament for twenty-two years 
before his chance came. 

" In England's darkest hour, William Pitt saved 

" I want to call England out of that enervate 
state in which twenty thousand men from France 
can shake her," he said as he took office. He soon 
" breathed his own lofty spirit into the country he 
served. He loved England with an intense and 
personal love. He believed in her power, her glory, 
her public virtue, till England learnt to believe in 
herself. Her triumphs were his triumphs, her 
defeats his defeats. Her dangers lifted him high 
above all thought of self or party spirit." 

" Be one people : forget everything but the 
public. I set you the example," he cried with a 
^ See Book IV. chapter 2. 

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26 Pitt's patriotism. [i768. 

glow of patriotism that spread like infection 
through the country. 

"His noble figure, his flashing eye, his majestic 
voice, the fire and grandeur of his eloquence, gave 
him a sway over the House of Commons far greater 
than any other Minister possessed." 

" I know that I can save the country, and I 
know no other man can," he had said confidently. 

This was the man who now turned his eyes west- 
wards and won for his country Canada,^ which 
is hers to-day. He saw that if the English 
colonies in America were to be saved from the 
French, the mother country must save them. He 
appealed to the very heart of England, and by 
his earnestness and eloquence he changed his 
despairing country into a state of enthusiasm and 
ardour. He now made plans for the American 
campaign of 1758. A blow should be struck at the 
French in America, at three separate points. The 
French forts of Duquesne and Ticonderoga were to 
be captured, while the great French naval station 
Louisburg, on Cape Breton Island, beyond Nova 
Scotia, was to be taken. It commanded the mouth 
of the river St Lawrence, and no English ships 
could reach the capital, Quebec. 

The genius of Pitt showed itself in his choice of 
the man selected for this difficult piece of work. 

James Wolfe, the future hero of Quebec, had 
fought at the battle of Dettingen when only six- 
^ See Book V. chapter 6. 

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1727-1769.] JAMES WOLFE. 27 

teen, and distinguished himself at CuUoden Moor. 
He was now given supreme command of the ex- 
pedition to the famous fortress of Louisburg, the 
key to Canada, which he was to conquer triumph- 

All England now thrilled with the coming 
struggle in America. The merchant at his desk, 
the captain on the deck of his ship, the colonel at 
the head of his regiment, — all felt the magic in- 
fluence of William Pitt. All eyes were strained 
towards the backwoods of the wild West, where the 
drama was to be played out. 

Fort Duquesne was taken from the French, and 
to-day, on the same site, stands the city named 
after Pitt, — Pittsburg, one of the largest towns in 

So Pitt had roused England to a sense of her 
danger and her responsibility, and helped her to 
rise to a greatness far surpassing the dreams of 
either Elizabeth or Cromwell. 


" They have fallen 
Each in his field of glory. Wolfe upon the lap 
Of smiling victory, that moment won.'* 


Wolfe left England late in February 1759, but 
the winds being contrary and the seas running 

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28 XABQCIB BE MOSTCAUf. [in3-1759. 

high, 3Iay had opened hef<Mie the wild coast of 
Nova Scotia was dimly seen through whirling mists 
of fog. The Lonishorg harbour was stOl choked 
with ice, and it was not till June that the advanced 
squadron of the fleet ooold begin the passage of the 
8t Lawrenca Wolfe had never seoi Qoebec, the 
city he was sent out to capture ; but he knew that 
Montcalm, the French general^ had four times as 
many troops as he had, and he spared no pains to 
make his own troops as efficient as possible. 

^^ If valour can make amends for want of numbers, 
we shall succeed,'' he wrote to Pitt at home. En- 
thusiasm soon spread through the troops. ** British 
colours on every French fort, post, and garrison 
in America,'' they cried, as they sailed cautiously 
along the lower reaches of the St Lawrence river 
towards their goal It seemed incredible to the 
French in Canada that an English fleet should 
navigate its way through the difficult channels of 
the river St Lawrence; and they received the 
news that the English had landed on the shores 
of the Isle of Orleans with surprise and dismay. 

** Canada will be the grave of the British army," 
they said confidently; "and the walls of Quebec 
will be decorated with British heads." 

It was June 26 when the fleet anchored at the 

Isle of Orleans, and beheld for the first time the 

rock city of Quebec.^ The bravest British heart 

might well have quailed at the sight. High up 

* See Book III. chapter 29. 

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against the western sky it stood, perched on its 
rocky throne. The rugged outline of batteries, 
bristling with cannon, seemed to frown defiance at 
the mere handful of Englishmen, now looking 
across the waters at it for the first time. 

" I will be master of Quebec if I stay here till 
the end of November," Wolfe had said. 

The task before him seemed wellnigh hopeless, 
yet his gallant heart never despaired. He would 
perform this last service if it were possible. He 
seized Point Levi, exactly opposite the city of 
Quebec. This gave him complete command of the 
river mouth. From here, too, his troops could fire 
across on to the city, and he might destroy it if 
he failed to capture it. 

Meantime Montcalm kept rigidly within the 
walls of Quebec. He knew that a hard Canadian 
winter, with its frost and snow, must compel Wolfe 
to retreat. 

So July came and went. Daring feats were 
performed on both sides, but Quebec remained 
uncaptured by the British forces. One day the 
French chained some seventy ships together, filled 
them with explosives, and set the whole on fire. 
Down the river, towards the English fleet, came 
this roaring mass of fire, until the courageous 
British sailors dashed down upon it and broke it 
into fragments. 

August arrived, with storms and cold. Fever 
took hold of Wolfe* Always frail in body, he lay 

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for a time between life and death, his "pale face 
haggard with lines of pain and anxiety." But he 
struggled back to life, and planned his great attack 
on Quebec. 

In one of his many expeditions he had discovered 
a tiny cove, now called Wolfe's Cove, five miles 
beyond Quebec. Here was a zigzag goat-path up 
the steep face of the towering cliff, which was over 
250 feet high at this point. Wolfe had made up 
his mind. Up this mere track, in the blackness of 
the night, he resolved to lead his army to the 
attack on Quebec. He kept his plans to himself 

The night arrived : it was September 12. 

" Officers and men will remember what their 
country expects of them," he cried, as he gave his 
troops the final orders. 

It was one of the most daring exploits in the 
world's history. 

At two o'clock at night the signal to start 
was given. From the Isle of Orleans, from Point 
Levi, the English boats stole out in the silence 
and darkness of the summer night. Wolfe him- 
self was leading. As the boats rowed silently 
through the darkness on this desperate adventure, 
Wolfe repeated some lines recently written by 
the poet Gray, — 

" The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power. 
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, 
Await alike the inevitable hour. 
The paths of glory lead but to the grave." 

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^* Gentlemen/' he said to the officers with him in 
the boat, *' I would rather have written that poem 
than take Quebec." 

Suddenly the voice of a sentry at the top of the 
cliff challenged them. 

'' Who goes there ? " 

"The French," sang out a Highlander who had 
served in the foreign wars and picked up a little 

" From which regiment ? " asked the suspicious 

"From the Queen's," answered the ready High- 
lander in French. 

A convoy of provisions was expected, and the 
sentry let them pass. But it was a narrow escape 
for the British fleet stealing stealthily along under 
the enemy's lines. At last the cove was reached in 
safety. The soldiers began to climb in single file 
up the face of the steep cliff. Wolfe was among 
the first, weakened though he was with fever and 
anxiety. It was an anxious time. Like a chain 
of ants the men crawled up the steep cliff in the 
darkness, until, with the first streak of dawn 
piercing the darkness, Wolfe and his troops stood 
triumphantly at the top. When morning broke 
Montcalm was greeted with the news that the 
British commander, whom he had kept at bay for 
months, now stood with an army of 4500 men in 
line of battle on the plains of Abraham, overlooking 
Quebec. Never a word of dismay uttered th6 

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32 DEATH OP WOLFE. [l769. 

French general as he mustered his troops to 
defend their city against the English. 

He had some 10,000 men. By liine o'clock all 
was ready. The battle began* In fifteen minutes 
it was all over. The French opened fire on the 
English lines at a distance of 200 yards. The 
English had been told by Wolfe to reserve their 
fire, and the men now stood with shouldered arms, 
as if on parade. Silent and motionless they stood 
amid the rain of French bullets and the din of 
French cheers. Then came the order to fire. 
Since the invention of gunpowder never had such 
a tremendous volley been delivered. The sudden 
explosion of 4000 muskets sounded like the blast 
of a single cannon-shot. As the smoke lifted, the 
French could be seen lying dead in heaps. Then 
Wolfe sprang forward, at the head of his men, 
sword in hand, and the whole line advanced. At 
that moment the sun burst forth, lighting up the 
gleaming bayonets and flashing swords. Another 
moment and Wplfe fell, hit by two bullets. , 

"Don't let my gallant soldiers see me fall," he 
gasped to the few men who rushed to help him. 

They carried him in their arms to the rear, 
and laid him on the ground. They mentioned 
a surgeon. 

"It is needless," he whispered; "it is all over 
with me." 

The little sorrowing group stood silently round 
the dying man. Suddenly one spoke. 

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** They run ! See how they run ! " 

"Who run?" murmured Wolfe, awaking as if 
from sleep. 

'' The enemy, sir," was the answer. 

A flash of life returned to Wolfe. He gave his 
last military order. Then turning on his side, he 
whispered, " God be praised, I now die in peace." 

That night, within the ruined city of Quebec, lay 
Montcalm mortally wounded. 

** How long have I to live ? " he asked painfully. 

" Twelve hours possibly," they answered him. 

"So much the better," murmured the defeated 
and dying man; "I shall not live to see the 
surrender of Quebec." 

So the two leaders died, — one at the moment of 
victory, the other in the hour of defeat. If France 
was grieved at Montcalm's failure, all England was 
intoxicated with joy at Wolfe's magnificent victory. 
The country flamed into illuminations, for the Eng- 
lish colonies in America were saved. French power 
in the Far West was crushed as it had been in the 
East, and "the whole nation rose up and felt itself 
the stronger for Wolfe's victory." 

BK. IV. 

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34 A NAVAL HERO. [l769. 


" When the battle rages loud and long, 
And the stormy winds do blow." 

— CampbblL. 

The French had been beaten by the English in the 
East and in the West by land. Now they were 
to be beaten again by the English, this time by sea, 
and off their own coast. France was threatening 
an invasion of England, when Sir Edward Hawke 
was given command of an English fleet, with orders 
to blockade the French fleet and destroy the ships 
if possible. 

How, through wild storms and tempests, the 
English sailor kept his dogged watch, and how, 
finally, he destroyed the fleet with " heroic daring," 
and by so doing saved his country, is one of the 
most thrilling stories in. history. 

Born in the year 1705, Hawke had been at sea 
ever since he was a small boy. 

" Would you like to be a sailor, Ned ? " he had 
been asked. 

" Certainly, sir," the boy had answered quickly- 

" Are you willing to go now, or to wait till you 
are bigger ? '' 

" This instant, sir," replied the little hero. 

His mother grieved bitterly over his departure 
from home. 

"Good-bye, Ned," she said, with difl&culty con- 

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trolling herself. '' I shall expect you soon to be 
a captain." 

" A captain," replied the boy with derision ; 
" Madam, I hope you will soon see me an 

He rose quickly in the service. More than once 
he distinguished himself in sea-fights. He had 
more than fulfilled the traditions of the British 
navy, lately disgraced by the behaviour of the 
British Admiral Byng, who for the loss of Minorca 
had been tried and shot on the deck of his own 

Pitt had chosen Wolfe to carry out his plans at 
'Quebec ; he now chose Hawke to sail against the 
French, and so frustrate the threatened invasion of 

It was in the middle of May 1759 that Hawke 
hoisted his flag and sailed from Torbay, to fulfil his 
<iifficult task. The French fleet, under Conflans, 
the ablest of French commanders, was lying snugly 
in the well-sheltered harbour of Brest, while more 
ships lay to the south at the mouth of the Loire. 
Hawke was to block all the ships in the harbour of 
Brest, and prevent their joining the others. He 
^sailed over to the French coast, and there for six 
months he doggedly blockaded the French fleet. 
But it was a stormier sea. on than usual. His 
•officers and men died of disease, the bottoms of 
the ships grew foul, the vessels were battered by 
.autumn gales and knocked about by the high 

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rolling seas from the Bay of Biscay. Still the 
British sailor stuck to his post. Autumn drew 
on. Again and again the wild north-west gales 
drove him from his blockading ground at the mouth 
of the harbour of Brest ; again and yet again he 
fought his way back. 

On November 6, a tremendous gale swept over 
the English fleet. For three days Hawke stood 
his ground, but he was forced to run back to the 
shores of England for shelter. Two days later he 
put to sea again, but the wind was blowing as 
furiously as ever, and he was again obliged to put 
back to Torbay. His own ship was rotten and 
water-logged, so he shifted his flag to the Boyal 
George and struggled out again into the storm. 

He was just too late. The French fleet had 
escaped, and the ships were even now running gaily 
with the wind behind them down the west coast of 
France to join the rest of the fleet. Conflans' 
daring plan might have succeeded had he not had 
against him a man whose genius, patience, and 
resolution were proof against the wildest waves 
and the . fiercest winds. In the teeth of the gale 
Hawke fought his way across the channel to France 
to find the harbour empty, his prey gone. On ran 
the French ships before the gale. Very soon the 
white sails of the English might have been seen 
hurrying after them. With the waves breaking 
over their decks, weighed down by the weight of 
sail, battered by the wild wind that whistled 

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1759.] A DAKING DEED. 37 

through their rigging, the English ships ran on, 
every hour bringing them nearer and nearer to 
the enemy. 

"I will attack them in the old way," cried 
Hawke, "and make downright work of them." 

As night drew on, the wind blew harder than 
ever. Conflans now devised a bold plan. He ran 
his ships coastwards, among islands and shoals of 
which he knew the English to be ignorant. It was 
a wild stretch of dangerous coast, on which the 
huge Atlantic waves broke with a roar as of 
thunder, tossing their white foam high into the 
air. The wind blew with ever-increasing fury, and 
the night was black as pitch. Only the genius of 
a Hawke could save the fleet in such a night. But 
to the successor of Drake ^ and Hawkins ^ all things 
were possible. " Where there is a passage for the 
enemy, there is a passage for me. Where a French- 
man can sail, an Englishman can follow," cried 
Hawke. "Their pilot shall be our pilot. If they 
go to pieces on the shoals, they will serve as 
beacons for us. Their perils shall be our perils." 

" And so, on the wild November afternoon, with 
the great billows that the Bay of Biscay hurls on 
that stretch of iron-bound coast, Hawke flung him- 
self into the boiling cauldron of rocks and shoals 
and quicksands. No more daring deed was ever 
done at sea." 

The battle began, and the roar of the guns an- 
^ See Book III. chapter 15. 

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swered the din of the tempest. The wildly rolling' 
fleets were soon hopelessly mixed up together. 
Ship after ship went down with its guns and its 
crews, but the flagship with Hawke on board was 
making for the white pennant which flew from the 
mast of Conflans' ship. Soon the two great ships 
had begun their fierce duel. Night fell before the 
battle was ended, — a wild night filled with the 
shrieking of the gale, and morning broke no less 
wild and stormy. Seven French ships had run 
for shelter to the coast, two had gone to pieces 
on the rocks. But in the very centre of the 
English fleet lay the flagship of Conflans, battered 
and helpless. In the darkness and confusion of 
the night the French commander had mistaken his 
friends for his foes, and anchored unconsciously in 
the middle of the English fleet. 

As the misty grey dawn showed him his mis- 
take, Conflans cut his cables and made for the 
shore. The battle of Quiberon was over. The 
French ships were too much damaged to put to 
sea any more, and Hawke was free to sail home 
to receive the honours that a joyous England was 
ready to bestow upon the faithful and brave 
Admiral who had saved her from a French 

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*' Oh thou, that sendest out the man 
To rule by land or sea, 
Strong mother of a Lion-line, 
Be proud of these strong sons of thine 
Who wrenched their rights from thee/' 


The year 1759 was a year of victory for England. 
By the triumph at Plassey Clive had founded the 
Indian Empire. '* With the victory of Wolfe on 
the Heights of Abraham began the history of the 
United States ; '' while Hawke's defeat of the French 
ships at Quiberon showed the growing strength of 
the English on the seas. 

"We are forced to ask every morning what 
victory there is," laughed an English statesman, 
" for fear of missing one." 

The year 1762 found peace between England and 
France, but an unsatisfactory state of things arising 
beyond the seas in America. 

It had cost England very large sums of money to 
save her colonies from the French. She now de- 
manded those colonies, growing yearly in wealth 
and prosperity, to help to pay for the war. The 
colonies were quite willing to do this : they would 
pay a voluntary sum, but not a sum extracted by 
means of taxation. England did not understand 
the spirit of her colonies at this time, and she 

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40 THE STAMP ACT. [l765. 

passed the famous Stamp Act, charging certain 
stamp-duties in the colonies. 

The news that the Stamp Act had actually been 
passed in England was received in America by a 
storm of indignation. The colonists denied that 
the mother country had any right to tax them. 
Bells were tolled, ships in the harbour flew their 
flags half-mast high, shops were shut, for it seemed 
as though the liberty of the American colonies were 

Men denounced it openly. "Caesar," cried one 
in a voice of thunder, **had his Brutus, Charles 
the First had his Cromwell, and George the 
Third " 

" Treason ! treason ! " shouted his hearers. 

The young colonist paused. 

" George the Third," he finished, " may profit by 
their example." 

A distinguished Ameriqan, Benjamin Franklin, 
went to England to protest against the Stamp 

"What will be the consequences of this Act?" 
the English asked him. 

"A total loss of the respect and affection the 
people of America bear to this country, and of all 
the commerce that depends on that respect and 
affection," he answered firmly. 

" Do you think the people of America would 
submit to a moderated Stamp Act?" they asked 
him again. 

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"No, never!" he cried with emphasis; "never, 
unless compelled by force of arms." 

For the first time in their history the colonies 
united in the face of a common danger. The 
colonists held a great Congress. Each colony was 
represented, and they resolved to resist the Stamp 

England was startled by the news : it called Pitt 
to the front again. He understood the American 
colonies ; he knew the value of their friendship, the 
danger of their separation. He had been ill when 
the Stamp Act was passed. Now his old eloquence 
burst forth again. 

"This kingdom has no right to lay a tax on 
the colonies," he cried. "America is obstinate; 
America is almost in open rebellion. Sir, I rejoice 
that America has resisted. Three millions of people 
so dead to all feelings of liberty as voluntarily to 
submit to be slaves would have been fit in- 
struments to make slaves of the rest." 

His words carried conviction : the Stamp Act 
was repealed. 

In America the news was received with en- 
thusiasm. Bells were rung, bonfires blazed forth, 
loyal addresses to the King of England were sent 
across the seas. The quarrel seemed to be at an 

And the colonies had learnt something of the 
strength of their union. 

The Stamp Act had been repealed, but England 

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42 A DUTY ON TEA, [l773. 

reserved the right of regulating American trade 
by imposing duties upon merchandise imported into 
the colonies. Discontent again arose ; and when, 
in 1773, a duty on tea was levied, the colonies 
were ablaze with indignation. They declared that 
England had no right to enforce a tea-duty, and 
they refused to receive the tea. 

It was the morning of Thursday, December 16, 
1773 — one of the most momentous days in the 
history of the world. Seven thousand persons were 
gathered in the streets of Boston. One of the 
English tea-ships rode at anchor off Boston harbour, 
and the citizens of the town refused to land the 
tea unless the duty were repealed. A watch of 
twenty-five colonists guarded the wharf by day 
and night, sentinels were placed at the top of the 
church belfries, post-riders were ready with horses 
saddled and bridled, beacon fires were prepared 
on every hill -top, should the English use force to 
land their tea. There was a law that every ship 
must land its cargo within twenty days of its 
arrival. At sunrise on December 17 the twenty 
days would have expired. The English ship still 
lay at anchor with her cargo on board. Would 
she sail home again, or would her sailors fight ? 

It was late in the afternoon of the 16th. The 
crowds waited on into the dusky evening to see 
what would happen. The old meeting-house was 
dimly lit with candles, where an important conclave 
was being held. 

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"This meeting can do no more to save the 
country," said a voice amid profound silence. 

It was the watchword appointed by the men of 
Boston to use force. Suddenly a war-whoop was 
heard through the silent air, and fifty men, dis- 
guised as Indians, ran quickly towards the wharf 
They were men of standing, wealth, and good 
repute in the Commonwealth, but in gaudy feathers 
and paint, with tomahawks, scalping -knives, and 
pistols. They alarmed the English captains not a 
little. They quickly cut open the chests of tea 
on board and emptied the contents of each into 
the sea. By nine o'clock that evening no less than 
342 chests of tea had thus been treated, while the 
vast crowds of colonists looked down on the strange 
scene in the clear frosty moonlight. 

Next morning the salted tea, driven by wind 
and wave, lay in long rows along the coast of 
Massachusetts, while citizens, booted and spurred, 
were riding post-haste to Philadelphia with the 
news of Boston's action. 

America had at last thrown down the gauntlet 
for the mother country to pick up. 

The great Revolution had begun. 

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" Beyond the vast Atlantic tide 
Extend your healing influence wide, 

Where millions claim your care ; 
Inspire each just, each filial thought. 
And let the natives round be taught 
The British oak is there." 

— Whitehkad (1775). 

The hour of the American Revolution had come, 
but England knew it not. The conduct of the 
men of Boston roused her wrath, and she prepared 
punishment. The liberties of Massachusetts — en- 
joyed for a hundred and fifty years — ^were taken 
away : the port of Boston was blockaded. 

" The die is cast," said Greorge III. triumphantly. 
" The colonies must either trimnph or submit. We 
must be resolute." 

But there was resolution on the other side of 
the Atlantic too. A Congress of colonists met at 
Philadelphia to consider the question. Men from 
all the thirteen colonies were there, their petty 
disputes forgotten in the face of this common 

" I am not a Virginian, I am an American," said 
one member, speaking for all. 

They now drew up and sent to England their 
famous Declaration of Rights. They did not ask 
for independence as yet : they did not want to 
break with the mother country. They asked for 

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1775.] OUTBREAK OF WAR. 45 

the freedom of their forefathers, for the right of 
making their own laws and levying their own 

England was astonished and dismayed. Pitt, 
no longer the Great Commoner but Earl of Chatham, 
came forward and begged for moderation. 

"It will soon be too late," he pleaded. "It is 
not repealing a piece of parchment that can win 
back America. You must respect her fears and 
resentments, and you may then hope for her love 
and gratitude." 

But Chatham's ominous words " availed no more 
than the whistling of the winds." More English 
troops were sent out to Boston, and America 
prepared to resist by force. The call to arms went 
forth. Washington was made commander-in-chief 
of the army of the " United Colonies of America." 
The thunder-cloud so long hanging over the land 
had broken at last. 

Already skirmishes had taken place between the 
English and Americans, but the first battle was 
fought at Bunker's Hill in the year 1775. It wa& 
one of the strangest battles ever fought. En- 
trenched on the hills above the town of Boston 
were some 1600 simple civilian citizens. They had 
no uniform : each man was dressed in his homely 
working clothes, each man carried his own gun. 
All were unskilled in warfare. 

At the foot of the hills were 4000 of the finest 
troops in the world. Their uniforms shone with 

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scarlet, white, and gold, while on their banners 
blazed the names of famous battles won. 

But resplendent as they were, the British troops 
were unable to endure the destructive fire of the 
colonists. Again and again they advanced up the 
hill; again and again they reeled back with 
shattered ranks, leaving heaps of English dead 
upon the fire-swept slope. 

"Are the Yankees cowards?" shouted the men 
of Massachusetts, as the English retreated before 

But there came a time when the colonial 
troops could hold out no longer. They had fired 
their last volley, their supply of powder was 
exhausted, and the English charged the hill and 
took it. 

A hundred and fifteen Americans lay dead across 
the threshold of their country, but they had shown 
what they could do. 

" How did they behave ? " asked Washington 
anxiously, when he heard news of the battle. 

"They stood their ground well," was the proud 

"Then the liberties of the country are safe," 
replied Washington, with a weight of doubt lifted 
from his heart, as he rode on to take supreme 
command of the troops. 

There was stifi* work yet before him. All 
through the long winter of snow and ice he de- 
fended Boston with his raw, ilLfed, ill-armed army. 

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Declaration of Independence. 

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until, in the spring of 1776, the English were 
obliged to withdraw to New York. 

And Washington entered the gates of Boston in 
triumph, the flag of the thirteen stripes-^-emblem 
of the thirteen united colonies — waving above his 

Gradually an idea of independence was growing 
in the colonies — of separation from the mother 
country, who had failed to understand her children. 
They would have clung to her still, had she but 
treated them with the consideration they had 

Congress met at Philadelphia, and on July 4 
1776 the colonists drew up their famous Declaration 
of Independence, disclaiming all obedience to the 
British crown. The words of the Declaration are 
still read aloud on the anniversary of every year* 

The war was continued with renewed vigour. 
The sufferings of the Americans were very great, 
and would have broken the heart of any man of 
less heroic mould than George Washington. But 
the autumn of 1777 saw one of his noblest triumphs, 
when 3500 British soldiers were surrounded and 
forced to surrender on the heights of Saratoga. It 
was the turning-point of the war. 

"You cannot conquer America," cried Chatham 
once more. " Bedress their grievance and let them 
dispose of their own money. Mercy can do no 
harm : it will seat the king where he ought to be 
— throned in the hearts of his people." 

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His words were too late. The British disaster 
at Saratoga had encouraged the French, and early 
in 1778 France openly allied herself to America, 
acknowledging the independence of the United 
States. For five years more the war languished, 
and then England too had to acknowledge the in- 
dependence of her colonies. She had learnt a lesson 
which would teach her in future how much con- 
sideration was due to those dependencies which 
were left. 

The United States were now a Republic. Their 
government was to consist of a President, a Vice- 
President, and a Congress, to sit at New York. 

And who should the colonists choose for their 
first President but George Washington ? He had 
led them to victory. He should guide them 
through peace. 

As he stepped forward to accept the honoured 
post a great shout of joy arose from the enthusi- 
astic colonists. He looked an old man now, grown 
grey and blind in the service of his country. 
Dressed in simple dark-brown cloth, his sword by 
his side, he solemnly swore to "preserve, protect, 
and defend the Constitution of the United States." 
And so, amid the waving of flags, the ringing of 
bells, the firing of guns, and the shouts of the 
people, the great ceremony ended. 

George Washington, soldier and patriot, was the 
first President of the United States of America. 

BK. IV. i> 

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50 JAMES COOK. [1728-1779. 


" We know the merry world is round, 
And we may sail for evermore." 


While England was struggling with her colonies 
across the Atlantic, an Englishman, Captain Cook, 
was sailing away across the Pacific to claim fresh 
lands for the British crown in New Zealand and 
Australia. Captain Cook, one of the greatest navi- 
gators of his age, had played his part in the 
American war. To him had been intrusted the 
difficult task of surveying the intricate channels 
of the river St Lawrence when Wolfe was making 
his arrangements to take Quebec from the French. 

Born in the year 1728, James Cook had been 
apprenticed, at the age of thirteen, to a shopkeeper 
near Whitby, in the north of England. But the 
life was very distasteful to the boy. Though he 
knew well enough the roughness of a sailor's life 
in those days, — of the salt junk they had to eat, 
of the foul water to drink, of the brutality of the 
old sea-captain, of disease and death, — yet he longed 
to go to sea. And one day he tied up his few 
belongings in his only handkerchief, stole out of 
the shop at daybreak, passed quietly down the 
village street, and walked the nine miles to Whitby, 
where he was taken on board a collier as ship's boy. 

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It was not long before he entered the king's service 
and went through the Quebec campaign,^ from 
which he returned a marked man. He found a 
keen interest awakening in England with regard 
to the Pacific Ocean, about which so little was 
known. Men full of courage had started forth, 
but limited water, contrary winds, difficulties of 
getting fresh food, and outbreaks of scurvy, had 

"t an end to each expedition in turn. 

\w a new expedition was planned and the 

\nd given to Captain Cook. With a crew 

v.* x^xx^wvy-four men, and food for ten months, he 

sailed from England in a stoutly-built collier, the 

Endeavour, to explore the Pacific Ocean. 

It seems strange to think that at this time 
Australia and New Zealand were practically un- 
known in Europe. Not a single white man lived 

Cook now sailed round Cape Horn, and crossed 
the Pacific Ocean till he fell in with the east 
coast of New Zealand, which he found to consist 
of two islands as large as his own Great Britain. 
For six months he examined their shores, discovered 
by Tasman^ 130 years before. Then leaving the 
coast at a point he named Cape Farewell, he sailed 
to the north-west, over a thousand miles of sea, 
till he touched at last the coast of the great 
"southern land" — Australia. The country so 
resembled that which he had left at home that he 
^ See Book IV. chapter 7. * See Book III. chapter 32. 

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gave it the name of New South Wales, while to the 
bay in which they first anchored he gave the name 
of Botany Bay, The discovery of Botany Bay 
solved a great problem for England : she was no 
longer able to send her convicts to Virginia as 
she had done hitherto, so she sent them to New 
South Wales instead, and the first settlement of 
English people in Australia was made at Botany 
Bay, five miles south of Sydney. 

Cook followed the coast of Australia northward 
for 2000 miles, and after an absence of three years 
he reached home. But disease and death had over- 
taken his crew, and the Endeavour was little better 
than a hospital when she staggered into port at last. 
Cook had mastered the art of navigation in unknown 
seas, but he had not solved the problem of how to 
prevent scurvy killing off his crew after some time 
at sea. 

So, when he was appointed to command the 
Resolution the following year, with orders to 
complete the discovery of the southern hemisphere, 
he gave his whole attention to the subject. This 
second voyage of Captain Cook marks an epoch 
in the history of navigation. 

He left England with a hundred men on board, 
and sailed to the Cape of Good Hope, where the 
Dutch settlement^ was still prospering. Here he 
stopped awhile to give his sailors fresh food. 
*' Fresh beef and mutton, new - baked bread, and 
* See Book III. chapter 33. 

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1772-1776.] IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN. 53 

as much greens as they could eat," he ordered. 
While at the Cape a Dutch ship came in reporting 
the death of 150 sailors from scurvy in four months, 
and Cook took the lesson to heart. 

Leaving the Cape he sailed southwards, but a 
great gale sprang up and blew the ship out of her 
course, right among some ice -islands of enormous 

"When we reflected on the danger," said Cook, 
*'our minds were filled with horror. For if our 
ship ran against the side of one of these islands 
when the sea was running high, she must have 
been dashed to pieces in a moment." 

Nevertheless he sailed among the ice-islands for 
many weeks, till he had assured himself there 
was no land to be found there. The ropes and 
rigging of the ship were frozen, the decks were 
sheathed in ice. One bitter morning nine little 
pigs were born on board the Resolution, but despite 
every care bestowed on them, they were all frozen 
to death in a few hours. 

At last Cook sailed for New Zealand, for he 
had now been one hundred days at sea without 
ever seeing land, while he had sailed 11,000 miles. 
After so long at sea, under such trying circum- 
stances, it would have been natural to suppose 
that there must be illness among the sailors. But, 
thanks to the Captain's precautions, they were all 
in excellent health. 

He now discovered some new islands in the Pacific 

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S4c DEATH OF COOK. [l779. 

Ocean, taking possession of them for England — 
the Friendly Islands, Society Islands, and the Sand- 
wich Islands. 

Having completely circumnavigated the globe 
near the Antarctic circle, Cook returned home 
with the Resolution. Not only had he left the 
British flag flying over distant islands in the Pacific 
Ocean, but he had done what no navigator before 
him had done, — he had returned, after cruising 
for three years amid untold dangers, with a clean 
bill of health. He had lost only one sailor from 
illness all that time. He had made their health 
his first care. He had set them an example of 
eating what was wholesome, however distasteful 
it might be, and so he had avoided that sailor's 
scourge — the scurvy. 

The account he published of his voyages awoke 
the interest of Europe in these far-off lands. 
Englishmen read of coral reefs and palm-trees, of 
the bread-fruit of Tahiti, the tattooed warriors 
of New Zealand, of gum-trees and kangaroos, till 
they felt that this new world of wonders was 
really their own, and that " a new earth was open 
in the Pacific for the expansion of the English 
race." ^ 

One last word of Cook himself, by whose steady 

perseverance and resolution these objects were 

attained. He was killed in one of the Pacific 

islands he had discovered; but we like best to 

1 See Book IV. chapter 31. 

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think of the stern old sailor, his face set south- 
wards, steering on through the ice-bound seas, 
thinking not of hunger and cold and monotony, 
but of how " soon he can break through that 
wall of ice and learn what is beyond." 


" In sunset's light, o'er Af ric thrown, 
A wanderer proudly stood 
Beside the well-spring, deep and lone, 

Of Egypt's awful flood ; 
The cradle of that mighty birth, 
So long a hidden thing to earth." 

— F. Hemans. 

While Captain Cook was exploring the unknown, 
another man — James Bruce — was opening up the 
geography of the world in another quarter. There 
were still many blank spots on the map of the 
world even in this eighteenth century. For 3000 
years the source of the Nile had been a mystery 
which no man had as yet solved, until it had passed 
into a proverb that to discover the source of the 
Nile was to perform the impossible. 

This man determined to perform the impossible, 
and succeeded. 

A strong young Scotsman, — athletic, daring, a 
very giant in height, — James Bruce married the 
orphan daughter of a wine-merchant in Portugal 
at the age of twenty- three. She died nine months 

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56 JAMES BRUCE. [1730-1794. 

later, and he travelled off to Spain and Portugal to 
inspect the vines from which the wine was made. 
Here he was fascinated by the many Moorish 
remains, and studied Arabic. He came under the 
notice of Pitt, and was made consul of Algiers. 
Before he went, however, Pitt's successor had a 
talk with the young consul. He alluded casually 
to the undiscovered sources of the Nile. The idea 
took hold of Bruce's strong imagination. 

"It was at that moment," he says, "that I 
resolved that this great discovery should either 
be achieved by me or remain — as it has done for 
3000 years — a defiance to all travellers." 

For two years he did his duty as consul at 
Algiers. But the spirit of adventure was strong 
upon him. He resigned his post and crossed the 
desert to Tripoli. Here he embarked on board a 
Greek ^hip for Crete. A violent storm overtook 
him, the ship foundered, and Bruce had to swim 
for his life in the raging sea, to be cast up helpless 
on the coast of Africa. Lying in an exhausted 
state on the sands, he was beaten and plundered 
by Arabs, and after a time sailed once more for 
Crete and so on to Egypt, where he arrived in the 
summer of 1768. Having gained the confidence 
of Ali Bey, the chief of the Mameluke rulers, he 
obtained leave for his journey to Abyssinia. The 
country was unruly and wild, cruelty and op- 
pression reigned under the Mameluke rule of those 
days. It was very different to the Egypt of to- 

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1768.] UP THE NILE. 57 

day, where British protection has brought freedom, 
peace, and prosperity. 

Bruce sailed up the Nile, past Thebes,^ to the 
first cataract at Assuan. He visited the ruins 
of Kamak and Luxor, and, crossing the desert 
on a camel, embarked at a little mud- walled village 
on the shores of the Red Sea. 

After a time he reached Massowah, the port of 
Abyssinia. The place was little more than a den 
of thieves and murderers, and had it not been for 
the kindness of Achmet, the governor's nephew, 
Bruce would have assuredly been slain. Achmet 
would fain have detained him altogether. He 
thought it madness for Bruce to proceed ; but the 
sturdy young Scotsman was true to his trust, and, 
dressed in the long white Moorish dress of the 
country, he started for Gondar, the capital. 

His way lay across mountainous country, indeed 
he had to cross the highest mountain in Abyssinia. 
Food was scarce, hyenas reduced the slender stock 
of donkeys, storms of rain soaked them to the skin, 
and often enough the little party were in a sorry 
plight. Bruce's light clothes were soon in rags, 
his feet bled from the long tramps over rocky 
ground, but he pushed bravely on toward Gondar, 
and at last — ninety -five days after leaving 
Massowah — he arrived at the capital. 

The throne of Abyssinia was still occupied by a 
supposed descendant of King Solomon; but the 
^ See Book I. chapter 4. 

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country was unsettled and lawless, and many 
governors strove for the mastery. Smallpox was 
raging at the palace when Bruce arrived, and he 
soon showed his skill as a doctor in dealing with 
the cases. As a reward^ the king made him 
Master of his Horse. 

" I told him that this was no kindness. My 
only wish was to see the country and to find the 
source of the Nile." But the king would not let 
him go. 

The delay worried the explorer not a little, and 
at last he persuaded the king to take him on an 
expedition to the banks of the great river, where 
there was fighting to be done. For his services 
the king gave him the district in which the Nile 
was supposed to rise, and Bruce at last was fi:ee 
to start on this last great quest. Through days of 
burning heat he pushed on with his local guide. 
They scrambled over mountains and across scorch- 
ing plains, until at last Bruce stood on the top of 
the Abyssinian table-land, and looked down on to 
the very spot where the springs of the Nile arosa 
Trampling down the flowers that grew on the 
mountain-side, and falling down twice in his haste 
and excitement, Bruce stood at the source of the 
Nile, gazing at the " hillock of green sod " which 
has made his name famous. 

" It is easier to guess than describe the state of 
my mind at that moment," he said afterwards, 
"standing in that spot which had bafiled the 

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genius, industry, and inquiry of both ancients and 
moderns for the course of near 3000 years ! " 

So far he was right; but after all he had only 
discovered the source of the Blue Nile in the Abys- 
sinian heights. The White Nile, which joins it at 
Khartum, was not traced to its source for another 
hundred years. 

It was some time before he could tear himself 
from the scene of all his hopes and fears to face 
the hardships of his return journey. Difficult as 
the outward journey had been, it was as nothing 
compared to the sufferings and troubles that tried 
him on the return. It was the autumn of 1772 
before he reached Assuan, and eighteen months 
later before he reached England, after an absence 
of twelve years. Disappointment awaited him. 
Not satisfied with the reward of his own success, 
he expected honours and riches from the coimtry 
for whom he had risked so much. But people 
would not believe his wonderful stories. They 
laughed at the wild tales he told of the Abys- 
sinians, their customs and habits, and Bruce went 
back to Scotland heart-broken. 

Sixteen years later he wrote an account of his 
travels in five fat volumes, which are among the 
most interesting in the world of adventure. Long 
years after his death it was proved that his sayings 
were true. Anyhow, James Bruce "will always 
remain the poet, and his work the epic, of African 

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60 WAEREN HASTINGS. [1782-1818. 


" When mercy seasons justice." 

— Shakspeke. 

While Captain Cook was discovering new lands for 
his country, and America was asserting her in- 
dependence, events of great importance were taking 
place in India. 

Robert Clive, the victor of Plassey and founder 
of the Indian Empire, was dead, but the East India 
Company had found an able successor in Warren 
Hastings, a man whose name is " writ large across 
a very important page of Indian history." 

Warren Hastings was bom in 1732, at a time 
when the fortunes of his family were at a very 
low ebb and the old home of his ancestors had 
passed into strangers' hands. His father was very 
poor, and little Warren went to the village school. 
But at the age of seven the boy made a plan. It 
was to lead him through many glories and many 
crimes. One bright summer day he lay on the 
bank of a stream that flowed through the lands 
of his forefathers, and as he gazed at the old 
dwelling of his race he swore to himself that some 
day he would win back his inheritance. 

At the age of seventeen he sailed to India as a 
clerk in the employ of the East India Company. 
Before long he came under the notice of Clive, who 

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noted him as promising ; and he was soon appointed 
to posts of importance, first at Bengal, then at Cal- 
cutta, and later at Madras. In 1771, a few years 
after dive's retirement, he was made Governor of 
Bengal. Here his work was gigantic. He brought 
order out of chaos ; he extended the British 
Empire in India by his genius, by his patience, 
by his untiring energy. He enriched the East 
India Company, and in 1773 he became Governor- 
General of all the English possessions in India. 
But his rule henceforth was one of oppression, and 
misery followed in its train. When he marched 
against the great Indian warrior, Hyder Ali, who 
had overrun lands under British sway, he allowed 
whole native villages to be set on fire, slaughtered 
the inhabitants, or swept innocent people into 

Here is a story of that injustice which after- 
wards brought Warren Hastings into such trouble 
at home. He wanted money not only for himself 
but for the Company. The Baja of Benares, on 
the Ganges, was bound to render a certain sum 
of money to the East India Company every 
year. The Governor-General now called on him 
to pay an additional sum, but the Raja delayed. 
Then Warren Hastings fined him for his delay, 
and went to Benares to collect the sum himself 
With reckless courage he entered the city on the 
Ganges with a mere handful of men. The Raja 
still refused to pay the extra fine, and Warren 

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Hastings had him arrested at once and shut up 
in his palace. The palace was guarded by two 
companies of sepoys or native soldiers, under 
English oflScers. But the men of Benares were 
furious: they killed the Englishmen and slaughtered 
the sepoys. The Raja then lowered himself to the 
ground by a rope made of turbans, crossed the 
Ganges, and made his escape. 

Warren Hastings meanwhile was in great peril. 
He fled for his life, under cover of darkness, from 
the angry city. Then he sent troops against the 
mutinous Baja, declared his estates forfeit, and 
obtained large sums of money, much of which never 
found its way at all into the treasury of the East 
India Company. 

Rumours of his conduct reached England, and 
when he returned home in the summer of 1785 he 
found many of his countrymen boiling with wrath- 
ful indignation. There was a statesman named 
Burke who had a passion for justice. In his eyes 
the whole career of Warren Hastings in India was 
stained by a long succession of unjust acts. He 
had watched the growing empire in India for years 
with rising wonder and wrath. If England's glory 
in the East depended on unjust deeds, then he, for 
his part, would have " refused the gain and shud- 
dered at the glory.'' With the return of Hastings 
the time was ripe to strike a severe blow at this 
system of oppression. 

A new spirit of mercy and pity was abroad in 

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England. A sympathy for the suflterings of man- 
kind was moving Englishmen to improve the con- 
dition of their jails, to raise hospitals for the sick, 
to send missionaries to the heathen, and to make 
crusades against the slave trade. So when Burke 
made known the conduct of Warren Hastings in 
India, there was a general outcry throughout the 

On February 13, 1788, the famous trial that was 
to last seven years opened in London at West- 
minster Hall. The great historic place was crowded 
to overflowing. Its old grey walls were hung with 
scarlet ; the approaches were lined with soldiers ; 
170 peers attended in robes of scarlet and ermine. 
The Prince of Wales — afterwards George IV. — was 
there. All the rank and beauty of England seemed 
gathered in the great hall on this winter morning. 

Warren Hastings entered. He was a small man ; 
his face was pale and worn. He was dressed in 
-a plain poppy -coloured suit of clothes; he bore 
himself with courage and dignity. 

But it was not until Burke, his accuser, rose to 
speak that the feelings of that great audience were 
stirred. As England'is great orator rose, a scroll 
of papers in his hand, there was a breathless 
silence. He began by giving his hearers a vivid 
picture of Eastern life and customs. Then he 
accused Warren Hastings of having defied the 
laws of these Indian people over whom he was 
ruling in the name of England, of outraging their 

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64 BURKE's impeachment. [1788. 

old customs, destroying their temples, and taking 
their money by dishonest means. To such a pitch 
of passion did Burke rise, that every listener in that 
vast hall, including Warren Hastings himself, held 
his breath in an agony of horror. So great grew 
the excitement, that women were carried out 
fainting, smelling bottles were handed round, while 
sobs and even screams were heard on every side. 
The orator ended his famous speech with these 
words : " Therefore hath it with all confidence been 
ordered by the Commons of Great Britain that I 
impeach Warren Hastings of high crimes and mis- 
demeanours ; I impeach him in the name of the 
English nation, whose ancient honour he hath 
sullied ; I impeach him in the name of the people 
of India, whose rights he hath trodden under foot 
and whose country he has turned into a desert; 
lastly, in the name of human nature itself, in the 
name of both sexes, in the name of every age, in 
the name of every rank, I impeach the common 
enemy and oppressor of all." 

This was the beginning of the trial : the end 
was very diflferent. As year after year passed, it 
still continued. Public interest in it almost ceased 
as other great events claimed the attention of 
England. It was not till 1795 — seven years after- 
wards — that the verdict was at last given. Mean- 
while public feeling had changed. Pity had arisen 
for the little Governor-General of India, — the man 
who had once ruled over fifty millions of people, — 

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as the trial dragged on. And when he was ac- 
quitted, there was almost universal applause. 
Burke had failed to convict the man, but he taught 
Englishmen that mercy and justice must play their 
part in the government of the British Empire be- 
yond the seas, and that national honour must go 
hand in hand with national prosperity. 

And Warren Hastings himself? He was a free 
man now, and he spent the rest of his days at 
the old home of his forefathers, towards which he 
had yearned as a little boy, and which he had now 
won back through much toil and tribulation. 


" Man is bom free, and everywhere he is in chains." 


These events bring us to the verge of one of the 
most thrilling and terrible stories in modern history 
— the great French Revolution. 

If the young colonists in America had cried out 
against unjust taxation, far more grievous was the 
cry wrung from the peasants of France under a 
system of taxation that had long existed in their 
own country. The mass of the people lived and 
struggled, suflfered and died, under painful and cruel 
conditions. Pitiless indeed were the burdens laid 
upon the land, until the very life and hope of the 
nation seemed to be sapped away. The poor were 

BK. IV. E 

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taxed while the rich went free. Duties were laid 
on articles of daily need — candles, fuel, wine, and 
grain, while the tax on salt was the hardest of all. 
Every man, woman, and child over seven years of 
age had to buy 7 lb. of salt a-year, and a heavy- 
fine was inflicted on those who could not or would 
not pay. So the nation groaned under its burden. 
Young women grew old before their time with toil, 
men worked under a cloud of hopeless gloom, and 
the nobles of France grew rich and prospered. 

Such a state of things could not last. All knew 
that a change must come sooner or later. Great 
men — Voltaire and Rousseau — arose and wrote 
against the existing evils. Voltaire called on the 
king to take the work in hand. But the years 
passed on and little was done till, in 1774, the 
king, Louis XV., died, to be succeeded by his grand- 
son as Louis XVI. 

Now four years before this Louis — the Dauphin, 
as he was called — had married Marie Antoinette, 
the beautiful young daughter of Mark Theresa,^ 
Empress of Germany. The little Marie Antoinette 
was but fourteen, and the Dauphin fifteen, when 
a marriage was arranged between them, to cement 
the peace made a few years since between Austria 
and France. 

Marie Antoinette was the youngest of sixteen 
children. She was a pretty, careless, pleasure- 
loving child, captivating all who came near her, 
^ See Book III. chapter 62. 

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and her mother had set her heart on her becoming 
the Queen of France some day. 

It was yet early in the morning of April 21, in 
the year 1770, when the little Austrian girl left 
Vienna, her old home, for the long drive to Paris. 
The streets were thronged, as the long line of 
carriages rolled through the city gate on their way 
to the French frontier. A fortnight's driving 
brought them to Strasburg. The young German 
poet Goethe has told us, how here she was met by 
her new French suite. Her Austrian clothes were 
taken off, and she was dressed in new clothes from 
Paris. Fl^ench ladies, provided for her by the King 
of France, now came forward to take charge of her. 
Weeping bitterly, the child kissed her Austrian 
attendants, sending messages of love back to her 
mother and sisters at home. 

*' Pardon me," she said, turning to her French 
suite and smiling through her tears. " Henceforth 
I shall never forget that I am French." 

On May 16 she was married to the Dauphin, 
whom she had seen for the first time two days 
before. A terrific storm burst over Versailles on 
the wedding-day, causing many a Frenchman to 
shake his head and prophesy evil. 

The young bridegroom himself was but sixteen. 
He was grandson to the present king. Having 
lost his father some years before, he was now heir 
to the throne of France. He had led a solitary 
life among the splendours and luxuries of the court 

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at Versailles. He was shy and awkward, fond of 
hunting, but knowing little enough of the pitiable 
state of that country he would soon be called upon 
to govern. 

Four years after the marriage Louis the king 
died of smallpox. His grandson and the beautiful 
young Austrian were King and Queen of France. 

" O God ! guide us, protect us ; we are too 
young to reign," they cried, falling on their knees 
with streaming eyes. 

For a time it seemed as if brighter days 
might be dawning for France under the new King 
Louis XVI. and his minister Turgot, the greatest 
statesman in France since the days of Richelieu. 
Turgot tried to make the young king understand 
how dangerous was the state of his country, how 
badly in need of reform. He would tax the rich as 
well as the poor, would abolish forced labour, would 
give France a national life in which each citizen 
must bear a part. But Louis was incapable of 
grasping the great crisis through which his poor 
country was passing. 

" The king is above all, for the good of all," said 

Louis could not rise to this ideal of kingship, and 
in 1776 Turgot was dismissed. 

" Do not forget, sire, that it was weakness which 
placed the head of Charles I. on the block," he said 
at parting. The words were prophetic of what 
should happen, but his reminder was in vain. 

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The luxuries at the court now increased. The 
winter of 1776 was bitterly cold, and bread was 
very dear. Deep snow lay in the streets of Paris, 
and the poor suffered acutely. 

One day a gay train of sleighs drove through 
Paris. With every appearance of wealth, comfort, 
and luxury, Marie Antoinette, the Queen, was 
enjoying the snow and keen air, with no attempt 
to hide her merriment. The poor people shivered 
at their doors. They had never seen sleighs 

" The Austrian," they muttered with displeasure ; 
for the marriage had never been popular in France, 
and a feeling grew up between the irresponsible 
young queen and her unhappy subjects. 

It was not till her tragic death seventeen years 
later, that she atoned for the past by the courage 
and dignity with which she met her fate. 


"The old order changeth, yielding place to new." 


It was in the year 1776 that America made her 
famous Declaration of Independence. France was 
the first nation to recognise it, and she sent over 
men and troops to help the young country in its 
struggle against oppression. Side by side French- 

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men fought with the English colonists in America. 
With the settlement they returned to France " with 
their hearts full of love and their lips loud in 
praise of the young Republic and its simple splen- 
did citizens." 

Among those who fought for France was La- 
fayette, a friend of George Washington. He now 
came home to find that the war had cost France 
more than she could pay, and that something must 
be done at once, to save the country from hopeless 

"Give us the States-General," he cried. "Let 
the people have a voice in the government of their 

Soon his cry resounded from one end of France to 
the other, until the king was obliged to listen. 
Now the States-General had not met for 175 years. 
It was a body not unlike the English Parliament, 
containing members of the Church, the nobles, and 
the people. Under the last despotic rulers of 
France, the voice of the people had long been silent. 
There was danger to the king, when he allowed this 
great force to be loosened in France. 

It was May 5, 1789, when the States -General 
assembled. The sun shone brilliantly, the streets 
of Versailles were gay with banners, the air rang 
with martial music. Eager faces looked down 
from balcony and window on to the famous 
pageant. At the head of the procession walked 
the 600 representatives of the people — a great 

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black-looking mass in their black coats and breeches, 
black stockings, short silk mantles, and three- 
cornered hats. Among them walked Mirabeau, 
with his lion locks of black hair; among them, 
too, might have been seen the small frail figure 
of Robespierre — men to play their part in the 
coming tragedy. 

Three hundred nobles followed, in the brilliant 
dresses of the age — cloaks of gold and high-plumed 
hats. Among them was Lafayette, the hero of the 
American war. They were followed by the 300 
clergy in "purple and fine linen," and behind all 
came the King, the Queen, and the Court. Here 
were plumes and jewels, powdered heads and painted 
faces, costumes resplendent in the May sunshine. 
The whole solemn procession filed into the church 
of St Louis, and next day the States-General met 
for business. 

A heated discussion on taxation arose. The 
people proposed that the nobles and clergy should 
pay taxes as well as themselves. The nobles and 
clergy refused, and the people formed themselves 
into a separate body called the National Assembly, 
and assumed entire control of the State. 

Angry days came and went. A cloud hung over 
the gay Court at Versailles, where the little eight- 
year-old Dauphin lay dying. But France was too 
much engrossed with her new life to take much 
note of the dying child, though he was heir to 
the French throne. Only Marie Antoinette wept 

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for the drooping of the little royal head, and 
rained bitter tears on the lifeless body of her 
eldest son. 

Meanwhile the conflict between the king and the 
National Assembly went on. At last he addressed 
the whole States -General — nobles, clergy, and 
people — collected together for the purpose. He 
would not sanction the National Assembly; they 
must disperse at once. The king left, the clergy 
and nobles filed out according to orders. The 600 
people sat still. 

*'Did you hear the orders of the king?" asked 

*'Yes," roared Mirabeau; "and let me inform 
you, you had better employ force, for we shall only 
quit our seats at the bayonet's point." 

These words were repeated and applauded 
throughout France. Through the long sultry days 
of July the storm gathered fast. In Paris it 
reached its height, and on July 12 it burst. 

" To arms 1 to arms 1 " shouted one insurgent, and 
the cry spread like wildfire through the excited 
city. Military stores were broken open, muskets 
carried off in triumph, prisons were opened, custom- 
houses burned. There was none to command, none 
to obey. Early on the morning of the 14th the 
fury of the people was directed against the Bastile, 
the great State fortress and prison of Paris, where 
for centuries past prisoners had been unjustly 
thrown. Its double moat and massive walls should 

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have protected it against an unruly mob, but the 
people were strong and determined in their wrath. 
Hour after hour, through that long summer day, 
they fired on the old grey walls, till at last the 
commander had to surrender. 

The Bastile had fallen, and the sun set over a 
triumphant city of fierce insurgents. Late that 
night the news reached the king. He was asleep 
in his palace at Versailles. 

" The Bastile has fallen," they told him. 

"But," said poor Louis sleepily, "that is a 

" Sire," answered the messenger gravely, " it is 
not a revolt, it is a revolution!" 

The fall of the Bastile was the fall of the old 
monarchy. The old order passed away on that 
eventful evening in July. France was shaken to 
its depths, and the eyes of Europe and America 
were directed towards the struggling nation. 

Three days later, the king made up his mind to 
go to Paris^ While Marie Antoinette wept for his 
safety he left Versailles. He was pale and anxious. 
The long highway from Versailles to Paris was 
" choking with people." Everywhere fluttered the 
new colours adopted by the people of Paris — red, 
white, and blue. Everywhere men and even women 
were armed. In front of him, on a white horse, 
rode Lafayette. Above them fluttered the tattered 
banner of the Bastile. 

" Long live the Nation 1 " was shouted on all 

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74 THE RIGHTS OF MAN. [l786. 

sides. It was not until Louis reluctantly fixed 
a cockade of red, white, and blue on his hat that 
the cry " Long live the King ! " was heard. 

JMLeanwhile the National Assembly, now joined 
by the nobles and clergy, drew up their famous 
Declaration of the Rights of Man. They swept 
away all existing orders, declared that all were 
born equal in rights, that all citizens were equal 
in the eyes of the law, that virtue and talent en- 
titled a man to office and not birth, that all worship 
should be free. 

The night was far advanced. It was the 4th of 
August- — a marked day in the history of the 

" But the king, gentlemen," said one who had 
listened to these sweeping reforms, '' the king who 
has called us after the long lapse of two centuries, 
— shall he not have his reward ? " 

''Let us proclaim him the restorer of French 
liberty," they said. 

And the Twelve Hundred representatives of the 
French nation left the blazing hall and made their 
way home through the warm summer night. 

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** Before man made us citizens, great Nature made us men.** 

— Lowell. 

There was now growing a feeling among the people 
of Paris that the king and the National Assembly 
should be in their midst, and no longer away at 
Versailles. So on October 1789, a great mob of 
citizens, mostly women, set out from Paris to 
walk to Versailles and bring the king back to 
his capital. 

Lafayette was commander-in-chief of the troops, 
but it was with a heavy heart that he led .the 
soldiers to Versailles. He felt the Revolution was 
getting out of all control. 

It was a day of rain, and when the mob reached 
their destination they were weary, hungry, and 
wet. All through that day and during the night 
fresh bands of men and women from Paris kept 
arriving, until early next morning. they broke into 
the palace. 

" The king to Paris," shouted the dense throng 

Louis stepped on to the balcony and assented to 
their will. 

Then arose a yet more furious cry— 

" The queen ! the queen ! " 

Marie Antoinette, with her children clinging to 

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her, now stepped out on to the balcony and looked 
down on to the sea of furious faces below. 


''No children!" 
was the rough 

Pushing them 
hack, the poor 
queen advanced 
alone. It was a 
moment of great 
periL Lafayette, 
afraid for her safe- 
ty, stepped for- 
ward and sought 
to make her peace 
with the people. 
Hestooped before 
them and kissed 

1 V|Qn/1 Marie Antoinette on the balcony at Versailles. 

The royal family was then forced to leave Ver- 

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1789.] AT THE TUILERIES. 77 

Bailies^ the palace of Louis XIV. They were never 
to return. They were taken to a palace in Paris 
known as the Tuileries, — a cold, deserted dwelling, 
- — where for the next two years they lived the life 
of captives. The queen spent most of her time 
with her two children, fearing to venture often 
beyond the gardens. The king, deprived of his 
hunting, grew gloomy and ill. 

He was powerless in his own kingdom, a mere 
tool in the hands of the Revolutionists. At last he 
and the queen resolved to escape from the misery 
of it all, from a life that had grown almost unbear- 
able. . Very quietly they made their plans. The 
night of Monday, June 20, was fixed for the 
attempt. Everything was arranged for them by 
Count Fersen, an intimate friend. In the afternoon 
the Count paid his last visit to the Tuileries. He 
had smuggled the last of the clothes for the disguise 
into the palace. There was a frockcoat and round 
hat for the king, who was to be a valet ; a travel- 
ling dress and bonnet for the queen, who was to be 
governess to her two children ; a frock for the little 
six-year-old dauphin, Marie Antoinette's second 
son, who was to be dressed as a girl. 

Fersen left the queen weeping bitterly, for there 
was a rumour that the plan had been discovered. 
The children were put to bed as usual. At nine 
o'clock supper was served ; the queen dismissed her 
servants and retired to rest. At half-past ten she 
crept to the little dauphin's room. The child was 

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fast asleep j all unconscious of coming danger. The 
queen woke him. His sister was already disguised 
in a cheap muslin dress. 

"They dressed my brother as a little girl," she 
said afterwards, when telling the story of this 
terrible night. "He looked beautiful, but was so 
sleepy that he could not stand, and did not know 
what we were all about." 

The queen was dressed as a governess. All was 
ready. She looked out into the night : everything 
was quiet. Stealthily the royal fugitives crept 
through dark unknown passages that warm June 
night, till they reached the appointed door, which 
stood unlocked. Then they crossed the courtyard 
and stepped into the coach, which awaited them 
with Count Ferseuj disguised as a coachman, on the 
box. Here the king joined them as their valet, 
and the carriage drove hastily off, through the 
sleeping streets of Paris. 

Outside the city they changed into a new yellow 
coach, which was to convey them towards the 
frontier of France. It had been waiting for two 
hours owing to delays, and the dawn was already 
breaking in the east. 

" Drive — - drive as fast as possible," muttered 
Count Fersen, jumping on to the box beside the 
German coachman and cracking the whip. " Go 
faster — faster ! " 

On they went through the ever - brightening 
morning, away from the pomps and shams of Paris 

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to the free life beyond the frontier. The king's 
spirits rose. 

"I have escaped from that town of Paris, 
where I have drunk so much^ bitterness," he cried 

But he rejoiced too .soon : a chapter of accidents 
now befell the royal family. The horses fell down 
and broke the harness, which took an hour to mend. 
They missed a carriage sent to meet them beyond 
Chalons. But, most fatal of all accidents, the king 
was recognised by a postmaster named Drouet, 
who belonged to the Revolution party. The royal 
party reached Varennes at eleven o'clock that 
summer night to find they had been discovered. 

" If you go a step farther we fire ! '' cried threat- 
ening voices, while guns were levelled at the 
carriage window. The poor disguised royal family 
got out. They were led to a grocer's shop hard 
by and taken up a narrow corkscrew staircase to 
two small bedrooms. The unhappy queen put her 
tired children to bed, while the king sat in an 
arm-chair in the middle of the room in the deepest 

In the course of the night a friend of the king 
arrived and made his way up the narrow staircase 
to ask for orders. 

*' I am a prisoner : I have no orders to give,'' 
answered Louis in despair. 

Even now a little firmness might have saved the 
situation, and "French history had never come 

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under this Varennes archway to decide itself." 
But the moment passed. By dawn thousands of 
peasants had assembled in Varennes, As the sun 
broke over the lovely valley of the Aire, the grocer 
begged the king to show himself to the growing 
crowds in the streets below. Louis obeyed. 

"Long live the King! Long live the nation!" 
cried the people. 

" There is no longer a king in France," muttered 
Louis to his queen, as he read the message from 
the National Assembly ordering him to return at 

Slowly and sadly the royal family descended the 
narrow stairs and entered the carriage once more. 
Escorted by six thousand guards, they drove back 
through the glare of a midsummer sun, exposed to 
the insults of the mob, with blinds up and windows 
open. The little dauphin slept at intervals, only 
to awake screaming that he was in a forest where 
wolves were attacking his mother, the queen. 

On Saturday the 25th of June they entered the 
gloomy palace of the Tuileries again, which they 
had left so full of life and hope but five days since. 

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" When France in wrath, her giant limbs upraised, 
And with that oath which smote air, earth, and sea, 
Stamped her strong foot and said she would be free." 

— Coleridge. 

Guards were now placed inside the palace of the 
Tuileries as well as outside, sentinels stood in every 
passage, and the door of each room was kept open 
day and night. The king and queen dared not 
venture beyond the gardens for fear of insult and 
humiliation. From time to time they gave way 
to outbursts of tears, as they realised the agony of 
their position. 

On June 20, 1792, a mob attacked the Tuileries, 
burst into the palace, and the royal family barely 
escaped with their lives. 

Meanwhile the Revolution outside was becoming 
more and more fierce. Mirabeau, the man who 
might have saved for France her king, was dead. 
*' I carry with me the ruin of a monarchy," he said 
with prophetic insight as he lay dying. 

Lafayette, who had urged moderation, was no 
longer a power in the land. The country was 
practically in the hands of three men, — Marat, 
Danton, and Robespierre, — men whose desire it 
was, to see the monarchy overturned and a complete 
Republic established in France. 

" Let us depose the king," was their cry. 

BK. IV. F 

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82 DEATH OF LOUIS XVI. [l793. 

Gradually Louis was stripped of every emblem 
of royalty. He was deprived of his sword, his 
orders of knighthood were taken from him. He 
was separated from his wife and children. At last 
he was accused of treason, for having conspired 
against the will of the people. His trial dragged 
on amid fierce discussion. When the verdict was 
given, he was found guilty of treason, and his 
punishment was death. A last agonised meeting 
with Marie Antoinette and his weeping children, 
a passionate entreaty to the little dauphin never 
to revenge • his death, and Louis XVI. of France 
was led forth to die. 

It was a bitter January day in the year 1793 
when he was beheaded by the guillotine, a machine 
erected in a public square in Paris, and used largely 
during the Revolution. 

" Frenchmen, I die innocent," cried the unhappy 
king to the vast crowds collected to see him die. 
'' I pardon my enemies." 

" It is done ! It is done ! " muttered the French- 
men who had ordained it, rubbing their hands as 
the crowds dispersed. But as yet they did not 
realise to the full what they had done. All 
Europe shuddered with horror at their deed. 

" Let us cast down before Europe, as the gauntlet 
of battle, the head of a king," Danton had cried 

Austrian and Prussian armies had already col- 
lected on the frontiers of France. England, 

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1793.] A REIGN OF TERROR. 83 

Holland, and Spain now joined in making war 
on France. Alone stood the stricken nation — alone 
against the powers of Europe, and rent by quarrels 

A true Reign of Terror now broke over the 
whole country. The monarchy had fallen, the 
Republic was not yet established. The National 
Assembly, now called the Convention, ruled the 
country with absolute sway. Violent and ignorant 
men resolved to blot out all royalists from the 
country, by means of the guillotine, to accomplish 
their end. The cry, " Liberty ! Equality ! Frater- 
nity ! " rang from end to end of France. All titles 
were abolished. Every man and woman, whether 
noble or shoeblack, was addressed as " Citizen." 
Numbers left France to take refuge in England 
and other countries, but numbers were thrown into 
prison and afterwards guillotined, without even a 
show of trial. They were carried in carts, with 
their hands tied behind them, to the place of public 
execution, often hardly knowing the reason of their 
death. Peasant girls were beheaded for humming 
the tune of a royalist song, women for speaking 
with pity of the victims already perished. All 
traces of royalty must be swept from the land, 
<5ried the tyrants, and swiftly and surely the 
guillotine did its cruel work. Little children and 
aged men, ladies of title and women of wealth — 
all suffered alike. And still the cry rang through 
the land, " Liberty ! Equality ! Fraternity ! " 

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At last the queen herself was sentenced. Already 
the beautiful little dauphin had been torn from her 
arms, and she had been sent to the common prison. 
As she passed through the low door she had hit 
her head. Her attendant had asked if she were 

"No," she answered bitterly; "nothing can hurt 
me now." 

All day long she sat in a kind of stupor, in a 
dungeon unfit for human use. 

On October 13, 1793, she was brought forth to 
her trial. Aged and bent beyond her years, the 
once beautiful Marie Antoinette stood proudly be- 
fore her accusers. The trial was short. Three days 
later, seated in a common cart, her hands bound, 
she was drawn from prison to the public square 
where the guillotine stood. There Marie Antoinette, 
Queen of France, was beheaded. " Oh Liberty ! 
Liberty ! How many crimes are committed in thy 
name ! " exclaimed a well - known French lady, 
Madame Roland, who suffered death on the same 
spot three weeks later. 

One day, when the troubles of the reign of terror 
were at their height, a young girl, Charlotte 
Corday, travelled from Normandy to Paris. She 
had heard of the crimes committed by the leaders 
of the Convention in the name of Liberty, and she 
reasoned to herself, if the tyrants could be disposed 
of, true liberty might be gained for France. She 
selected Marat for her victim. Going to his house. 

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she obtained an interview with him, and as they 
talked she drew out a knife and killed him. 

" I killed one man," she said, as she faced the 
death, that her act justly merited — "I killed one 
man to save a hundred thousand, — to give repose 
to my country." 

Thus fell one of the leaders. ' The fate of the 
others was not far distant. Their violence had 
disgusted even their own party. Both Danton 
and Robespierre perished by that guillotine to which 
they had sent so many of their fellow-countrymen. 

So the reign of terror ended. At last the object 
for which so many thousands of lives had been 
sacrificed was accomplished — France was a Republic. 
There was no king, there were no nobles. The 
government was conducted by five Presidents 
under the name of the Directory. 


" The childhood shows the man 
As morning shows the day." 

— Milton. 

But wonderful days were yet in store for this poor 
storm-tossed France, with the rise of the greatest 
soldier she has ever known, the greatest conqueror 
that " ever followed the star of conquest across the 
war-convulsed earth" — Napoleon Bonaparte. France 
had but lately annexed the island of Corsica, which 

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86 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. [1769-1821. 

lies in the Mediterranean Sea, and had up to this 
time belonged to Italy. Here, in the yeiar 1769, 
Napoleon was born. He was but a year old, when 
Marie Antoinette left her home at Vienna to marry 
the dauphin of France; he was but seven, when 
America declared her independence. He was one 
of nine children — " olive-skinned, black-browed, 
shrill-tongued " children — a famous family, indeed, 
where one was to be an emperor, three were to be 
kings ; while of the girls, one was to be a queen, 
and two princesses. 

Little enough is known of Napoleon's childhood. 
His chosen toy was a small brass cannon, his 
favourite retreat, a solitary summer-house among 
the rocks by the seaside of Corsica, still known as 
'' Napoleon's Grotto." 

One story indeed is told of him in his school- 
days. The master of the school, where little 
Napoleon learnt with his elder brother Joseph, 
arranged a sham fight for his pupils — Romans 
against Carthaginians. Joseph was ranged on 
the side of Rome, while his little brother was to 
be a Carthaginian. But, piqued at being placed 
on the losing side, the little boy fretted, fumed, 
and at last stormed, till Joseph offered to change 
places with him, and he was put on the winning 

At the age of nine he was sent to a military 
school in France. Though Joseph wept passion- 
ately at the parting, his little brother dropped 

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hardly a tear, though he was deeply attached to 
his home and his mother. 

At school he was proud and silent, holding aloof 
from his companions, and hating France, because 
she had taken Corsica from the Italians. He read 
history eagerly. He delighted in Plutarch's Lives, 
which told him about the Greek and Roman heroes 
of old. He loved Caesar s account of the conquest 
of Gaul, and spent whole nights pouring over his 
wonderful exploits. At the age of fifteen he was 
sent to Paris. 

" He will be an excellent seaman," reported his 
master; "and is worthy to enter the School at 

He was a boy of plain tastes — indeed he had 
been nicknamed the " Spartan " ^ by his school- 
fellows — and the luxuries of Paris impressed him 
deeply. He resented being taught at the expense 
of Louis XVL, the king who had taken Corsica ; 
but a year later he became lieutenant of artillery, 
and after eight years' absence returned to his home 
in Corsica. 

His force of character had already made itself 

"You, Joseph, are the eldest," said a relation 
who saw the boys together ; " but Napoleon is the 
head of the family." 

His father was dead. He too had cried aloud in 
his last delirium for his little Napoleon, "whose 
* See Book I. chapter 23. 

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sword should one day triumph over Europe ; " 
while Rousseau had prophesied of Corsica, "This 
little island will one day be the astonishment of 

August 10, 1793, found him in Paris at the 
storming of the Tuileries by the Revolution mob, 
when the king and queen with difficulty escaped. 

"If Louis XVI. had mounted his horse the 
victory would have been his," Napoleon had cried 
with disdain. 

The next two years were spent between Corsica 
and France. He tried many things, and failed in 
all. He was nearly twenty-five, and wholly un- 
known, when his chance came to him. Full of 
unbounded ambition, he was ready to act wherever 
glory was to be found. He might have thrown in 
his lot with England or with Italy. He threw it 
in with the Republicans of France. Louis had been 
beheaded, and the reign of terror was at its height. 
The Republic was carrying on war with the Royal- 
ists without pause, without mercy. 

Toulon was the great southern military store- 
house of France, and Toulon had declared for the 
Royalists. Not only this, but they had proclaimed 
as King, Louis XVII., the poor little eight-year-old 
dauphin, now languishing, fatherless and mother- 
less, in a Paris prison. The English were helping 
the men of Toulon to hold the town, and to guard 
the hilly frontage of fifteen miles, which commanded 
the sea. Napoleon, now serving the Republic, 

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arrived at Toulon in September, and at once took 
command of the artillery. Everything was in con- 
fusion, but he saw clearly what alone would give 
him the Royalist city. The French must sweep 
the harbour with their fire, force the British ships 
to retire, and Toulon must fall into the hands of 
the Republic. 

It was the night of December 17, 1793. Torrents 
of rain were falling, a wild wind raged over the 
Mediterranean Sea, while flashes of lightning added 
new terrors to the night. In the midst of this 
Napoleon made a determined attack on the British 
defences, which were soon swept by his guns. So 
deadly was the fire, there was nothing left the 
Royalists but surrender. A terrible scene followed. 
A magnificent French fleet lay in the harbour at 
Toulon. Desperately the Royalists turned on it. 
They set fire to a powder-ship, and soon the flames 
of the burning ships lit up the surrounding country. 
Prisoners broke loose from the town, and by 
hundreds and thousands, the inhabitants of Toulon 
flocked to the beach, begging for means of escape 
from the Republicans. Above the howling wind 
arose their pitiful cries for mercy. Napoleon never 
forgot the terrors of that night. " The whirlwind 
of flames and smoke from the arsenal resembled the 
eruption of a volcano, and the vessels blazing in the 
roads were like so many displays of fireworks. The 
masts and forms of the vessels were distinctly traced 
out by the flames, which lasted many hours, and 

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90 HORATIO NELSON. [1758-1805. 

presented an unparalleled spectacle." So he wrot« 
long years after, during his imprisonment at St 

Thus Napoleon Bonaparte sprang into fame. 
From this time onwards he advanced by rapid 
strides to that greatness which has given him such 
a conspicuous place in the history of the world. 


" Thine island loves thee well, thou famous man, 
The greatest sailor since our world began." 

— Tennyson. 

Among the ships that had sailed into the harbour 
of Toulon under the flag of Admiral Hood was the 
Agamemnon, under the command of Horatio Nelson. 
He was not present on that fateful night when the 
British fleet had to escape into the storm, as he 
had been sent to Naples with despatches. But it 
is strange to think that the two greatest figures in 
the war between England and France should " for 
a moment have crossed each other's path at this 
very beginning of the struggle." 

Nelson was born in Norfolk, England, eleven 
years before his great enemy Napoleon. Like the 
little Napoleon, he was one of a large family. His 
mother died when he was but nine years old. At 
an early age he was sent to school, and of his school- 
days many stories have been told. Here is one. 

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The brothers William and Horatio Nelson were 
returning to school on their ponies, after the 
Christmas holidays. The snow lay deep, and the 
boys thought this a good enough excuse for turning 
home again. 

" The snow is too deep to venture farther," said 
William, as he met his father in the hall. 

" If that indeed be the case, you shall certainly 
not go," was the reply ; " but make another attempt, 
and I will leave it to your honour. If the road be 
found dangerous, you may return ; yet remember, 
boys, I will leave it to your honour." 

Off they set again. The road now became almost 
impassable with drifts of snow, but although the 
danger was great Horatio refused to return. 

"We have no excuse," he said firmly. "Re- 
member, brother, it was left to our honour." 

Horatio Nelson was twelve years old when, one 
day, he heard that his uncle had been made captain 
of a large ship. The boy knew that his father was 
very poor, and had a struggle to bring up his eight 
motherless children. So he begged that his uncle 
might be asked to take him to sea. He was a 
sickly and fragile-looking little boy, and his uncle's 
answer was not exactly encouraging. 

"What has poor little Horatio done," he cried, 
"that he, being so weak, should be sent to rough 
it at sea ? But let him come ; and if a cannon- 
ball takes off his head, he will at least be pro- 
vided for." 

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92 NELSON AT SEA. [l771. 

Sad enough is the first picture of the little would- 
be sailor. It was a dull grey morning when he 
arrived at Chatham, and the boy shivered with cold 
as he wandered about the dockyard looking for his 
uncle's ship, bewildered by the strange sights that 
met his eyes for the first time. 

After all his uncle's ship did not sail, and the 
boy was put on board a ship bound for the West 
Indies. At first he was very unhappy, and as he 
paced the broad quarter-deck of the vessel, plough- 
ing her way over the stormy waters of the North 
Atlantic Ocean, he yearned after his distant home 
in England. The voyage suited him well, and he 
returned, in 1771. a sunburnt lad of thirteen, with 
" every hair a rope-yarn and every finger a fish- 

He now joined a ship bound for the North Pole, 
and amid the frozen silence of the far north he 
learnt some of the lessons of his life. 

One night, — so runs one story of him, — young 
Nelson and another youth stole away from the ship, 
which was fast among the ice, to try their luck in 
shooting a bear. Nelson, armed with a rusty 
musket, led the way in high spirits over frightful 
chasms of ice. It was not long before the two 
young adventurers were missed. A thick fog had 
come on, and the captain of the bhip was in great 
anxiety about the boys. Between three and four 
in the morning the fog lifted, and the boys were 
discovered at some distance attacking a large bear. 

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A signal was made to them to return at once. 
Nelson's companion obeyed. 

" Let me but get one blow at him," cried Nelson 

But the captain saw what peril the boy was in. 
He fired hastily, and frightened the bear away. 
When Nelson returned he was severely scolded for 
his conduct, though the captain could not but 
admire the fearless courage of the young midship- 
man. Nelson was greatly agitated. " Sir, I wished 
to kill the bear, that I might carry its skin to my 
father," he murmured in self-defence. 

At the age of fifteen Nelson possessed all the 
knowledge of an able seaman. In 1773, when 
Napoleon was but four years old, he was sailing 
ofi* to the East Indies. But here the climate told 
on him. Disease took hold of him, he was wasted 
to a mere shadow, and sent home. Bitterly dis- 
appointed at the seeming failure, he felt he would 
never rise in his chosen profession. He fretted 
miserably about it, till one day he took himself 
in hand. " I will be a hero," he cried, " and, con- 
fiding in God, I will brave every danger." 

This resolve to " do " now became the watchword 
of his life. It was an ever-growing passion till it 
ended in the grand finale, which will ring down the 
ages — " England expects every man to do his duty." 

Nelson was appointed to the Agamemnon in 
1793, and a few days later the French Republic, 
then at its fiercest heat, declared war on Great 

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Britain and Holland. The dawn of a great war 
stirred the blood of English boys, and Nelson re- 
ceived a number of young midshipmen on board. 
Among them was Josiah Nisbet, his stepson, a boy 
about thirteen years old at this time. To these 
young sailors he gave this advice : " First, you 
must always implicitly obey orders, without at- 
tempting to form any opinion of your own respect- 
ing their propriety; secondly, you must consider 
every man as your enemy who speaks evil of your 
king ; and thirdly, you must hate a Frenchman as 
you do the devil." 

So in the year 1793 we have these two men — 
Nelson, a rising sailor in the service of England ; 
Napoleon, a rising soldier in the service of the 
French Republic. 

While they are preparing for the great struggle 
that was soon to take place, let us turn to two great 
explorers who were now playing their parts in un- 
folding the geography of Africa and South America. 


" Strong in will 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." 


When the young Scottish surgeon, Mungo Park, 
started forth on his travels, to find out about the 
mysterious river Niger, little was known of the 

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interior of Africa. It was twenty-six years since 
Bruce ^ had discovered the source of the Nile, 
and still men thought that the Niger rose near it 
and flowed right across the Dark Continent from 
east to west, its mouths being the rivers Senegal 
and Gambia on the west coast. It had long been 
the dream of men of all nations to reach not only 
the Niger, but also the wonderful city on its banks 
called Timbuktu, which was said to be paved with 

In the year 1795, when the French Revolution 
was still at its height, Mungo Park, a young man 
of twenty-four, offered his services to the British 
African Society to explore this region. Tall and 
strong, with an iron will and a sweet expression, 
was this Mungo Park. He had already been to 
the East Indies, and a thirst for travel and ad- 
venture had seized him. He arrived on board an 
African trading- vessel, in May 1795, at the mouth 
of the Gambia, and sailed thence up the river 
to the English dep6t at Pisania. Here he was 
touched by the wretched condition of the slaves, 
who were brought from the interior and shipped 
to. England to supply the European market. But 
his work lay in another direction. 

It was December before he was ready to start. 

His sole companions were a negro servant and a 

slave boy. He took a horse for himself and two 

donkeys for his servants, food for two days, some 

1 See Book IV. chapter 12. 

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beads and tobacco for exchange, a few clothes, an 
umbrella, compasses, a thermometer, besides a 
couple of pistols and a few firearms. 

Thus provided, thus attended, thus armed, 
Mungo Park started for the heart of Africa. It 
must have needed a stout courage indeed, plenty 
of young enthusiasm and confidence, to face the un- 
known thus scantily equipped. Waterless deserts, 
trackless jungles, gloomy forests, angry natives — 
all had to be encountered before the Niger could 
be reached. 

It is not possible to follow him in detail, interest- 
ing as his travels are. Now we see him standing 
before some black king begging leave, by means 
of gifts, to pass through his dangerous country. 
Now he is stealing forth silently under the moon- 
lit sky to escape from furious natives, to pass the 
night in some great forest, where wild beasts made 
the night hideous with their howls. Now he is 
passing through country of untold beauty, where 
the windings of the Senegal, descending from its 
rocky heights, lend a pleasing variety to the scene. 
The banks of the Senegal were reached two days 
after Christmas. The next part of the road lay 
through an inhospitable region, inhabited by 
negroes of the most degraded type. So threat- 
ening were they, so brutal in their conduct, that 
the two native servants refused to venture farther, 
and Mungo Park went forward alone. Gathering 
together the few possessions now left him, he stole 

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1796.] TAKEN PRISONER. 97 

away under cover of the darkness, and with a stern 
resolution, unsurpassed in history, started on his 
forlorn hope of reaching the mysterious Niger. 
From all sides came the roar of wild beasts, adding 
terror to his already dangerous situation. But 
undismayed he plodded on, alone, through the 

Suddenly one day he was seized and dragged 
before a black Moorish king, and all hope seemed 
to fade away. Men, women, and children crowded 
round to see the white man. He was insulted, 
tortured, starved. Day after day passed, leaving 
him no means of escape. The desert winds scorched 
him, sand-storms choked him ; the heavens above 
were like brass, the earth beneath as the floor of 
an oven. Fever came on him, and he feared death 
with his great work yet unfinished. It was the 
end of May before he escaped from this intolerable 

Early one morning, when the sun was just 
breaking across the sky and the Moors round him 
were sleeping heavily, he took his bundle, stepped 
stealthily over the sleeping negroes, jumped on to 
his horse, and rode away as fast as possible. But 
the horse, like its master, was reduced to mere skin 
and bone after four months' captivity. Every 
moment was one of life or death. Once he looked 
round to see three Moors on horseback in full pur- 
suit. They were brandishing weapons and scream- 
ing threats, but he escaped, and rode breathlessly 

BK. IV. G 

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forward. Starvation now stared him in the face. 
To the pangs of hunger were added the agony of 
thirst. There was no water. The sun beat piti- 
lessly down, the sand reflected the heat as from a 
furnace. Night came. His horse grew too tired 
to carry him any longer, but with his old strength 
of will he staggered on in the darkness, often falling 
from very weakness. Suddenly a flash of lightning 
bespoke a coming storm. On his ear fell the wel- 
come sound of trees bending before a wind. It put 
new life into the fever-stricken explorer. But a 
terrific sand-storm swept over the land, and he fell 
down hopelessly under a sheltering bush. Then 
followed great storm-clouds, and soon big drops of 
rain began to fall, while lightning flashed and 
thunder crashed above. The refreshing rain fell 
on to his burning face and shaking hands, and saved 
his life. 

In the third week of his flight his reward came. 
The prize for which men and nations had struggled 
for three centuries was to be his. Let him tell his 
own story. "Looking forward," he says, "I saw 
with infinite pleasure the great object of my 
mission — the long - sought - for, majestic Niger, 
glittering in the morning sun, as broad as the 
Thames at Westminster and flowing to the east- 
ward. I hastened to the brink, and having drunk 
of the water, lifted up my fervent thanks to the 
great Ruler of all things for having thus far 
crowned my endeavours with success." 

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He was the first European to reach the Niger, 
and to tell the world that its course was " towards 
the rising sun," and not as men had thought. 

But his troubles were not ended here. The 
natives would not allow him to enter their city 
Sego on the Niger, and he wandered away to take 
shelter from the sun under a tree. Hour after 
hour passed away and no one offered him food or 
lodging. The sun fell and a great storm gathered. 
Suddenly a poor negro woman passed him returning 
from her work. Seeing his pitiful condition she 
stopped to ask his story. Bidding him follow her, 
she took him in, broiled him a fish from the river, 
and spread a mat for him to sleep upon. And 
while he slept she sang with her companions of 
this strange new guest : — 

" The winds roared and the rains fell, 
The poor white man sat under our tree ; 
He has no mother to bring him milk, 
No wife to grind his corn." 

Far on into the night the women of Africa sang, 
as they worked — 

** Let us pity the white man, no mother has he." 

Mungo Park could not get much farther. Fever 
had reduced him to a mere skeleton, his one re- 
maining shirt was threadbare. He made his way 
slowly back to the coast and thence to England, 
where he arrived after an absence of two years and 
nine months. 

301009^ Google 

100 DEATH OF MUNGO PARK. [l805. 

As the years passed on he longed to be back in 
Africa. He felt much remained to be done, and 
the early part of the new year 1805, found him 
leaving England for the last time. It was May 
before he left Pisania, this time with forty-four 
Europeans and a large quantity of baggage. It 
was August before he caught sight of the Niger, 
by which time most of his companions were either 
dead or dying. But his stout heart did not despair 
as he embarked on his last great venture, *'with 
fixed resolution to discover the source of the Niger 
or perish in the attempt." 

In a large, unwieldy, half- rotten canoe — chris- 
tened His Majesty's schooner Joliba — he set sail 
with nine men to navigate the strange new river, 
studded with dangerous rocks, full of hippopotamus, 
whose banks were lined with cannibal tribes. This 
is the last sight we get of Mungo Park, gliding 
down the Niger towards the heart of savage Africa, 
into the deep darkness of the unknown. The rest 
is silence. 

Years after, it was discovered that he had sailed 
some thousand miles down the river, past Timbuktu 
to Boussa. Here the boat was overturned by 
rapids, and, at the last, attacked by natives. The 
great Niger had claimed the brave explorer as 
her own. 

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1769-1869.] ALEXANDER HUMBOLDT. 101 


" I am going, O my people, 
On a long and distant journey ; 
Many moons and many winters 
Will have come and will have vanished. 
Ere I come again to see you." 


While Mungo Park was making his way into the 
heart of Africa, another man was turning his 
thoughts towards South America, the geography 
of which was still very uncertain. 

Baron Humboldt, whose discoveries were to 
enrich the world, was born in 1769 — the same year 
as Napoleon and Wellington — at Berlin, where his 
father occupied a high position at the Court of the 
King of Prussia. As a little boy, Humboldt was 
taught by the man who had translated Robinson 
Crusoe into German, and his mind was soon filled 
with the spirit of adventure from reading the 
new story-book. , But even the feats of Robinson 
Crusoe grew small beside those of the boy's next 
fi:iend — Forster. Forster had not been wrecked on 
a desert island, but he had actually sailed round 
the world with Captain Cook,^ and had written an 
account of his adventures. His desire to travel 
grew more and more intense as the years passed 
on. His mind turned towards South America. 

^ See Book IV. chapter 11. 

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102 TO SOUTH AMERICA. [l799. 

He read the chronicles of Balboa^ and Pizarro,^ 
and the grand old Spaniards of the sixteenth 
century. He learnt mining and geology, then a 
new science. He talked of his plans to Goethe 
and Schiller, the world -famed poets. He went 
to Paris to make known his great desire, and then, 
leaving home and luxury and a life made pleasant 
by many friends, he started for the unknown. 

The spring of 1799 found him at Madrid, seeking 
leave from the King of Spain to visit the Spanish 
dominions in America. For at this time the main 
part of South America still belonged to Spain by 
reason of her conquests. The names of Columbus, 
Vespucci, Cabral, Balboa, Pizarro, Raleigh, — all 
rise before us in turn when we speak of South 
American discovery, while in North America, Cortes 
had gained Mexico for Spain. 

Early in June 1799 Humboldt set sail from 
Corunna on board the Pizarro. He was accom- 
panied by a young Frenchman, Bonpland, a man 
of science and a congenial companion. Slowly the 
coast of Europe faded from sight. They would 
not see it again for. five years. Twelve days' sail- 
ing brought them to the Canary Islands, where 
they landed for Humboldt to go up the Peak of 
Tenerife, a volcano which had recently been very 
active. They sailed on over the southern seas, 
deeply impressed with the beauty of the southern 
skies. As they neared the equator, star after star 

* See Book II. chapter 42. 2 gee Book II. chapter 51. 

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1799.] AT VENEZUELA. 103 

they had known from childhood sank lower and 
lower, until apparently lost in the sea. The whole 
heaven seemed to change, until they hailed with 
delight the Southern Cross, or the four stars that 
form, roughly, a cross in the southern hemisphere. 

Forty-one days after leaving Corunna they saw 
the coast of South America, and landed at Cumana, 
on the north coast of Venezuela. It was their first 
sight of the tropics. The deep silence, the brilliant 
colours, the gigantic trees, the strange birds, all im- 
pressed them deeply. Humboldt wrote down all 
his observations, and when he reached home again 
he gave them to the world, which was soon ringing 
with his fame. He studied everything : the stars 
in the heavens, the earthquakes which shook the 
earth; flowers, animals, shells, trees, the weather 
and temperature. His eyes and ears were ever 
open to take in all that Nature could tell him of 
her great and mysterious secrets. He rejoiced in 
the beautiful plains and valleys of Venezuela, 
watered by the vast Orinoco, and soon started ofi* 
on an expedition into the very heart of things. In 
a large native canoe he sailed up the river with 
his friend. In a cabin made of palm -leaves, a 
table was made for him of ox-hides strained over 
a frame of Brazil-wood at one end of the boat, 
where he could sit and write. Many were the 
stories he told on his return. It was a voyage of 
peril and wild adventure for the two white men 
making their way into unknown regions. Never 

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had they seen nature so wild and grand. Gigantic 
trees and tropical forests, grassy plains and vast 
rolling rivers abounded. 

"The crocodile and boa rule the rivers; the 
jackal and other wild beasts rove here without 
fear or danger through the forests," says Humboldt. 

Often he found immense tracts of country unin- 
habited by any human beings. Once he came upon 
a tribe of natives who made a practice of fattening 
and eating their wives. One of the deepest im- 
pressions was made by the huge cataracts on the 
Orinoco, at which he and Bonpland stood and gazed 
in awe. Never before had they seen such masses 
of foaming waters or such colossal black rocks rising 
from their surface. 

After a journey of seventy-five days, during which 
they travelled no less than 375 miles, they returned 
to Guiana. They had sailed on five great rivers, 
they had discovered the union of the Orinoco and 
Amazon, the. largest river in the world, and they 
made new maps of this hitherto unexplored region. 

It is impossible to follow their wanderings, but 
their ascent of Chimborazo is interesting. At this 
time it was supposed to be the highest mountain 
in the world, but it was scaled by an Englishman, 
Whymper, in 1880, and it is now known that 
Mount Everest in the Himalayas is much higher. 

January 1802 found the travellers at Quito, one 
of the most charming cities in South America. It 
stands among gigantic mountains and almost under 

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the shadow of Cotopaxi, the highest volcano in the 
world. It is the capital of Ecuador (Equator). 
Humboldt, with two friends — a Frenchman and a 
Spaniard — arrived one fine day at the foot of 
Chimborazo, and they began the ascent on mules. 
They went steadily upwards till they reached a 
lake, which was already higher than the highest 
mountain in the Alps. Already they had attained 
the highest spot yet reached by human foot. The 
mules could go no farther, so the travellers went 
on on foot. Over fields of newly-fallen snow, they 
gained a narrow ridge which led to the top. The 
path grew very steep and slippery, and their guides 
refused to go farther. Nothing daunted, the 
travellers went on. A thick mist now surrounded 
them. Their path was but ten inches broad. On 
one side was a chasm a thousand feet deep, on the 
other was a steep slope of snow covered with a 
glassy coat of ice. One false step meant certain 
death. Soon they had to crawl on hands and 
knees, but their courage was high, and they went 
doggedly on. 

The fog grew thicker : they suffered from the 
rarity of the air. Breathing was difficult, and 
mountain sickness came on. Their heads swam, 
their lips bled, their eyes grew bloodshot. Sud- 
denly the fog lifted, and they saw the summit. 
They hurried forward, filled with a great hope, 
when right across the ridge they saw a huge chasm 
which it was impossible to cross. By this time 

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they were nearly frozen with cold. A great snow- 
storm broke over the top, and they were forced 
to turn back without having reached the summit. 
But they had reached a height of 19,200 feet above 
the sea, an altitude since surpassed, but never 
attained by man till that June day in 1802 by 
Humboldt and his two faithful friends. 

It would take too long to tell how they crossed 
the lofty chain of the Andes and explored Peru ; 
how they reached Lima, with its beautiful cathedral 
where Pizarro,^ its founder, lies buried; how they 
sailed north to Mexico, and finally, after an absence 
of five years, returned safely to Europe. 

He went many another joiuney after this, and 
earned for himself the name of the "Monarch of 
Science," the "Father of Physical Geography." 
He outlived his contemporaries Napoleon and Well- 
ington by many long years. Long after the " Great 
Captain " had done his wars and the "Great Despot" 
had suffered for his ambition, the "Monarch of 
Science " was winning his victories in a quiet way 
that cost no tears to others, but enlarged the 
boundaries of the world of thought beyond all 
human ken. 

^ See Book 11. chapter 51. 

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"Admirals all for England's sake, 
Honour be yours ; and fame 
And honour, as long as waves shall break, 
To Nelson's peerless name." 

— H. Newbolt. 

Let us turn again to Napoleon and Nelson, now 
ready to begin their conflict. 

It has been said that nothing in the history of 
the world is quite so wonderful as the history of 
Napoleon, with its monstrous triumphs and its 
tragic fall, — nothing is more wonderful than the 
history of France immediately after the Revolu- 
tion. Her success in the wars that followed was 
immense, until, in the year 1796, she had won 
over as her friends Spain and Holland, though 
England and Austria were still her enemies. Now 
Austria ruled over a great part of Northern Italy, 
and it was against her that Napoleon was first 
sent in the spring of this year. 

" Soldiers, you are half starved and half naked," 
said the young commander to his troops. "I will 
lead you into the most fertile valleys of the world : 
there you will find glory and riches." 

His success in North Italy astonished not only 
France but Europe. The "Little Corporal," as 
his soldiers called him, fought eighteen pitched 
battles and won them all, till in little over a 

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year he had made himself master of Italy and 
changed the face of Europe. He returned to Paris 
amid boundless enthusiasm. He had conquered 
the Austrians, but the English were still for- 

** Go ! " cried one of the Directors of France, 
clasping Napoleon to him, — " Go, capture the giant 
corsair that infests the seas." 

Let us turn for a moment to the " giant corsair/' 
and understand the danger of its strength to 
France. This very year the English had gained 
two great naval victories over the allies of France 
— Spain and Holland. 

The first was fought off Cape St Vincent, where 
a Spanish fleet of twenty-seven ships was waiting 
to join two French fleets, when 100 sail would 
sweep proudly over the seas to invade the British 
Isles. Sir John Jervis, the English admiral, was 
cruising off Cape St Vincent, a headland on the 
coast of Portugal, to prevent the union of the 
fleets. Nelson was in command of one of his ships 
— the Captain. ''The fate of England hung on 
the part he was about to play." 

It was but daybreak on the morning of February 
4, when a hazy dawn suddenly lifted, disclosing to 
the English admiral the Spanish |[eet not far 
away. Huge ships loomed large out of the fog. 
Jervis signalled to prepare for battle. 

" There are eight ships, Sir John," they reported 
to him, as one by one they appeared. 

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1797.] nelson's genius. 109 

"There are twenty ships, Sh* John," they re- 
ported presently. 

"Very well," was the undaunted answer. 

"There are twenty-seven ships, Sir John/' was 
the next report, "and we are but fifteen." 

"Enough — no more of that. The die is cast, 
and if there were fifty sail I would go through 

The battle soon began. It would take too long 
to tell how Nelson was the moving spirit of it all, 
— how, with the genius of a great commander, he 
alone read the purpose of the Spanish admiral, and 
how he took the one step that saved England. 

" Victory or Westminster Abbey ! " he had cried, 
as with fiery zeal he had climbed the bulwarks 
of a huge Spanish vessel. 

So the Spaniards were beaten, and the proposed 
invasion of Great Britain did not come off this time. 

But there was danger of invasion from another 
of those allies who had recently made their peace 
with France. The Dutch navy was still renowned : 
it would help France to defeat England on the 
high seas. 

All through the spring of this year — 1797 — a 
splendid Dutch fleet had been lying in the Texel, 
ready to take French troops to the invasion of 
Great Britain. 

For five long months Admiral Duncan, of the 
British fleet, had blockaded the enemy's ships at 
the mouth of the Texel. But mutiny broke out 

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110 ADMIRAL DUNCAN. [l797. 

amid English sailors, and one day nearly all his 
ships spread their sails and disappeared away to 
England to join the other mutineers. Admiral 
Duncan now did one of the pluckiest deeds ever 
chronicled in the annals of the sea. 

" Keep the Texel closed ! " — these were his orders. 
He would not fail in obedience. He knew there 
were some ninety-five ships in the Texel, thirty- 
three being battleships. Mustering his crew, he 
told the men that he meant to do his duty till 
the ship sank. They were in shallow water, and 
even when they were at the bottom, the flag of 
England would still fly above them. 

'' ' IVe taken the depth to a fathom ! ' he cried, 
' And I'll sink with a right good will ; 
For I know when we're all of us under the tide 
My flag will be fluttering etilL' " 

So he anchored his ship at the mouth of the 
Texel, where the channel was very narrow, and 
there for th^ days and nights he "corked up 
the bottle which held the Dutch fleet." It was 
a moment of peril — one of the gravest perils of 
the whole war — when stout-hearted Admiral Duncan 
represented the sea power of England. In order 
to deceive the Dutch captains, he kept gallantly 
signalling to an imaginary fleet beyond the sky- 
line. The long hours of loneliness and anxiety 
passed, and the Dutchmen, cooped up in the 
river mouth, little dreamt that they were being 

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held in check by a " deserted admiral upon a 
desolate sea." 

When at last the Dutch ships emerged, Duncan's 
danger was over. His faithless vessels had returned 
to him, and he was only waiting his chance to 
fight the fleet of Holland. The two fleets met at 
last ofl* the coast, on the morning of October 11. 
It was a squally day, and the ships rolled heavily 
in the dark waters of the North Sea, where the 
English and Dutch fleets strove for the mastery. 
The Dutch fleet was one of the finest that ever put 
to sea, and the men fought with a stubborn courage 
worthy of their old fame. It was not till their 
ships were riddled with shot, their masts falling, 
and their sailors dying by hundreds, that the Dutch 
admiral, De Winter, was obliged to surrender to 
the English. The victory assured, old Admiral 
Duncan — for he was sixty-six — called his crew 
on deck, and with faces still black with powder, 
they knelt on the "shot- torn planks" to thank 
God for their success. 

So the crushing victory of Camperdown consoled 
"one of the bravest of the brave for an agony 
unrivalled in the story of the sea." 

Admiral Duncan had broken the naval strength 
of Holland. No more need England fear her 
power by sea. 

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112 NAPOLEON TO EGYPT. [l798. 


" O saviour of the silver-coasted isle ! 
O shaker of the Baltic and the Nile 1 " 

— Tennyson. 

'*Let us destroy England!" exclaimed Napoleon 
impatiently; "that done, Europe is at our feet." 

It was evident, after the victories of Cape St 
Vincent and Camperdown, that England was too 
strong to be encountered by sea again. But 
Napoleon had gigantic schemes of his own. He 
would attack England in distant India, he would 
restore to France the great kingdom of the East. 
English troops were now in possession of the Cape 
of Good Hope, therefore Napoleon planned the route 
through Egypt to India. The shadowy East ap- 
pealed to the strong imagination of the young 
Corsican soldier. 

" Europe is but a molehill," he said ; "all the 
great glories have come from Asia." 

Very quietly he now set to work preparing for 
his conquest of Egypt. England must know nothing 
of it. In the summer of 1798 all was ready, and 
one May morning, the sun rose on the white sails of 
the French transports, as they left Toulon. 

" In the name of Liberty I am come to lead you 
across mighty seas and into remote regions, where 
your valour may win such glory and such wealth as 
can never be looked for beneath the cold heavens of 

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the west," said Napoleon to his soldiers at starting. 
No expedition so vast and formidable in strength 
had ever set sail from the French coast before as 
that, which now swept proudly down the Medi- 
terranean Sea, while England guarded her own 
coasts for the invasion that never came. 

The French fleet having captured Malta, arrived 
off Alexandria on July 1, and the troops disembarked 
in a violent gale, their boats being nearly swamped 
by the surf. 

Alexandria fell without a struggle, and the army 
set out for the long desert march to Cairo. 

On the 21st Napoleon and his army came within 
sight of the Pyramids,^ and found the enemy drawn 
up to receive him. 

" Soldiers," he cried, " forty centuries look down 
upon you from the top of yonder pyramids." 

The battle of the Pyramids was fought and won, 
and the victorious French started back for the 

Meanwhile it became known to England that the 
French fleet was in the Mediterranean Sea, and 
Nelson with an English fleet was despatched at 
once in quest. After searching for some time, he 
arrived off Alexandria on August 1 to find the long- 
sought fleet riding at anchor in Aboukir Bay, some 
fifteen miles from Alexandria; and the look-out 
from the mast-head of the admiral's flagship beheld 
the gleam of white sails in the afternoon sunshine 

^ See Book I. chapter 2. 
BK. IV. H 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

114 IN ABOUKIR BAY. [l798. 

with feelings akin to despair. The afternooii wore 
on, and the French ships lay motionless on the 
smooth waters of Aboukir Bay. None thought 
that Nelson would dare attack them till morning. - 
But they did not know the English admiral. 

"Fear? I never saw fear. What is it?" he 
had asked, when little more than a baby. He did 
not know at the age of forty. He made up his 
mind to attack at once. It was his first command, 
and his first magnificent chance. 

"If we succeed, what will the world say ? " said 
one of his captains. 

" There is no if in the case," replied Nelson ; 
"that we shall succeed is certain. Who may live to 
tell the story is another question." 

Nelson had already lost one eye and his right 
arm in battle, but he was undaunted. The order to 
advance was given, and soon the gleaming sails of 
the English ships were scudding over the afternoon 
waters of the Mediterranean. They entered Abou- 
kir Bay in grim silence. One by one the battle- 
ships took up their positions between the French 
ships and the coast, in such a way that two English 
ships attacked one French ; and at half-past six, as 
the sun was setting in the west, the battle began. 
By seven o'clock black darkness had fallen over 
land and sea ; but the flashing lights filled the 
heavens, and the booming guns broke the silence of 
the eastern night. 

Early in the night Nelson was badly wounded in 

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1798.] BATTLE OF THE NILE. 115 

the forehead — so badly that he cried, " I am killed.'' 
They carried him below. The surgeon was attend- 
ing a poor sailor, who had been badly wounded. 
When he saw Nelson being carried down, appar- 
ently dying, he left the sailor and hurried to the 
side of the admiral. 

" No," murmured Nelson in his agony ; " I will 
take my turn with my brave fellows." 

Suddenly, in the middle of that savage night of 

battle, the French flagship exploded. Flames in 

great sheets shot up into the moonless sky, as from 

a volcano. The water hissed, as blazing masses of 

rigging and timber shot up only to fall into the 

troubled bay. The French Admiral perished, and 

a hush fell on every man in the two fleets. No gun 

was fired, for all seemed paralysed with the awful 

sight of that burning ship. Among those who 

perished in the flagship was the ten-year-old Casa- 

bianca, who refused to leave his post without his 

father's leavef, and that father was already dead 


'* The boy stood on the burning deck 
Whence all but he had fled ; 
The flame that lit the battle's wreck 
Shone round him o'er the dead." 

Morning dawned to find two French ships alone 
unconquered, and these saved themselves by flight. 
Thus ended the battle of the Nile, one of the most 
important naval battles ever fought. For it put an * 
end for the present to the naval power of France, 

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116 nelson's success. [1799. 

and it gave to England absolute oommand of the 


The news reached Napoleon on his desert marcL 
"To France," he said with a sigh, "the Fates 

have decreed the empire of the land ; to England, 

the empire of the sea." 

" We have no longer a fleet," he said later. "We 

must either remain in this country, or quit it as 

great as the ancients." 


" Of Nelson and the North 
Sing the glorious day's renown, 
When to battle fierce came forth 
All the might of Denmark's crown." 

— Campbell. 

The news of Nelson's great victory spread over 
Europe rapidly. The Italians were specially 
pleased at Napoleon s defeat, since he had overrun 
their country. 

" Oh, brave Nelson ! '' cried the Queen of Naples, 
a sister of Marie Antoinette, bursting into tears. 
" God bless and protect our brave leader. Oh 
Nelson, Nelson, what do we not owe you, — Victor, 
saviour of Italy I " 

England's navy had grown very formidable. 
She had within a short time defeated the Spanish 
fleet off Cape St Vincent, the Dutch fleet oflT 
Camperdown, and the French fleet off the coast of 

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Africa. Three fleets had been destroyed, but the 
great northern fleet yet remained. There was the 
fleet of Eussia, begun by Peter the Great ^ a hun- 
dred years before, the fleet of Sweden, and the 
fleet of Denmark. And these three northern powers 
now united, to destroy the growing strength of 
England's sea power. 

Brilliant leader though he was. Nelson was only 
second in command on this expedition against the 
northern fleets. His chief was Sir Hyde Parker, a 
man who finally intrusted the command practically 
to the hero of the Nile. 

Nelson joined the fleet at Yarmouth in Norfolk, 
England, in the autumn of 1800. He found the 
admiral nervous at the prospect of "d^rk nights 
and fields of ice." 

"I hope," said Nelson, "we shall give our 
northern enemies that hailstorm of bullets, which 
gives our dear country the dominion of the seas. 
We have it ; and all the devils of the north cannot 
take it from us if our wooden walls have fair play." 

So eighteen great battleships fought their way 
across the stormy North Sea to Denmark. Their 
orders were to negotiate, if possible, rather than 
fight ; so when they arrived at the northern point 
of Denmark, known as the Skaw, they anchored, 
and a messenger was sent forward to negotiate under 
a flag of truce. The delay irritated Nelson sorely. 

" I hate your pen-and-ink men," he said ; ** a 
^ See Book III. chapter 48. 

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fleet of British warships are the best negotiators 
in Europe. While negotiations are going on, the 
Dane should see our flag waving every time he lifts 
his head." 

But the eighteen battleships, with their tall 
masts and huge wooden hulls, stood without the 
Sound, and the northern powers decided to fight. 
A rumour reached the admiral that the defences of 
the Danes were very strong, and that Copenhagen, 
one of the finest capitals in Europe, was literally 
bristling with guns. His indecision was overruled 
by Nelson. 

"They will grow stronger every day and every 
hour," he cried. " On your decision depends 
whether our country shall be degraded in the eyes 
of Europe, or whether she shall rear her head 
higher than ever." 

The die was cast, and the fleet sailed on between 
the coasts of Denmark and Sweden till the island 
of Zealand was reached. There were two ways 
round the island — one by the Sound and Copen- 
hagen, the key to the Baltic, the other by the 
Belt. Another discussion arose. 

" Let it be by the Sound, by the Belt, or any 
other way," cried Nelson impatiently; "but lose 
not an hour." 

The batteries at Elsinore fired on the ships, but 
they swept proudly on through the Sound and 
anchored near Copenhagen. Even Nelson was 
astonished at the threatening appearance of the 

Digitized by 


1801.] BEFORE THE BATTLE. 119 

enemy's preparations. The Danish ships bristled 
with cannon, the entrance to the harbour was 
protected by a chain, and batteries commanded the 
entrance. It was suggested that the three northern 
fleets would surely defeat the English at last. 

" So much the better," said Nelson excitedly, as 
he paced the deck of his ship ; " I wish there were 
twice as many. The greater the number, the more 
glorious the victory." 

It was April 1, the night before the battle. 
Nelson, who had been working hard all day, sat 
down to dinner with a large party of his officers. 
He was in the highest spirits. 

"To-morrow," he had just written home, "will, I 
hope, be a proud day for England." 

He slept little all night, receiving reports of the 
wind from hour to hour. 

When morning dawned it was fair. Every plan 
was made for the attack. 

It was just ten o'clock when the 

. " Sign of battle flew 
O'er the lofty British line : 

There was silence deep as death ; 
And the boldest held his breath 
For a time." 

Slowly towards the Danish ships, drawn up in 
line of battle outside Copenhagen, came on the 
English, until the thimder of guns rolled from end 
to end of the battle-line. It was a narrow channel. 

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and shallow, and the first English ships ran aground, 
throwing out all Nelson's plans. 

For three hours the fighting continued : the 
admiral watched with anxiety the growing danger 
of Nelson's position. The Danes, old sea-rovers as 
they were, fought with a spendid courage, and, 
fearing for hiis fleet, the admiral ran up a signal to 
" Cease action ! " 

Meanwhile Nelson was pacijig his quarter-deck 
in great excitement. 

"It is warm work," he said. "This day may 
be the last to any of us at any moment. But, 
mark you," he added with feeling, " I would not 
be elsewhere for thousands." 

Then suddenly from the mast-bead of the flag- 
ship, flew the admiral's signal. Nelson did not see 
it. They told him of it. 

"Cease action?" he cried, as if he could not 
understand. *'Fly from the enemy? Never! 

Then turning to one of his officers, he said 
bitterly, "You know I have only one eye. I have 
a right to be blind sometimes." With these words 
he put the telescope to his blind eye, exclaiming 
with some humour, " I really do not see the signal ! " 

"Keep my signal flying for closer battle. Nail 
it to the mast ! " he said with emphasis. And the 
battle raged on fiercely. By two o'clock the Danish 
fire grew less, and as the smoke cleared away the 
Danish flagship was seen drifting in flames before 

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the wind, with her miserable crew throwing them- 
selves overboard from every port-hole. The battle 
was practically over, and again Nelson had won the 
victory. Under a flag of truce he sent a messenger 
ashore with terms addressed to "The brothers of 
Englishmen — the Danes." 

"Out spoke the victor then, 
As he haird them o'er the wave : 
* Ye are brothers I we are men ! 
And we conquer but to save ; — 
So peace instead of death let us bring : 
But yield, proud foe, thy fleet, 
Wjth the crews, at England's feet, 
And make submission meet 
To our king/" 

*' I have been in one hundred and five engage- 
ments," said Nelson ; "but this is the most terrible 
of all." 

So the Danish fleet was destroyed, and Nelson 
returned to England the victor of Copenhagen. 


" Who, born no king, made millions draw his car ; 
Whose game was empires and whose stakes were thrones ; 
Whose table, earth ; whose dice were human tones." 


The dreams of Napoleon, with regard to India, 
vanished in the thunder and smoke of the battle 
of the Nile. 

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*' If it had not been for you English/' he said, 
"I should have been Emperor of the East." 

A year later, after varied success in Egypt and 
Syria, he made up his mind to return to France, 
though the great army must be left behind for the 
present. One dark night, he embarked in a small 
ship that had been secretly built, and sailed away 
along the coast of Africa to Tunis. His voyage 
was one of great peril, for English ships were 
patrolling up and down the Mediterranean, and 
would gladly have fallen in with Napoleon. With 
all lights out and under cover of the night, the 
little ship safely accomplished the narrow channel 
between Sicily and the African coast, and Napoleon 
reached his old home in Corsica safely. 

On October 16, 1799, the citizens of Paris were 
astounded by the news, that Napoleon was actually 
among them again. What if he had left them 
but a year ago, with a magnificent fleet and an 
army of picked soldiers ? He returned alone, but 
at a time when France stood in need of a strong 

His arrival inspired all with joy. Men had grown 
dissatisfied with their Directory.^ They were ready 
for a change. Napoleon was at once given command 
of all the troops in Paris ; and, with his military 
force to support him, he dissolved the Directory 
and formed a new Government, in which he himself 
took the highest place. In imitation of the Romans 
1 See Book IV. chapter 17. 

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of old, he took the title of Consul. He at once 
went to live at the palace of the Tuileries. Not 
a single member of the royal family was left 
in France, for the little dauphin had died five 
years before of ill-treatment, and his sister was 
in exile. 

It is curious to remember, that one of Kapoleon's 
first orders as Consul, was to command the French 
soldiers to wrap their banners in crape, for the 
death of George Washington ^ in America, for " he 
was a great man," he said, "who fought against 

The next object of the Consul, was to reconquer 
Italy, which had been won back by Austria, during 
his absence in Egypt. He collected a large force, 
and, taking command himself, set out as secretly 
as possible. He knew the Austrians to be encamped 
in a valley at the foot of Mount St Bernard, a 
part of the Alps supposed to be impassable. 

This famous expedition across the Alps, was one 
of Napoleon's greatest exploits, and for danger 
and daring exceeded anything, that had been at- 
tempted since the days of Hannibal.^ With 
astonishing courage, the French soldiers struggled 
up the steep and slippery mountain, covered with 
eternal frost and snow. There was no path. 
Gallantly they dragged up the cannon, baggage, 
knapsacks, guns, leading their horses and mules. 
Amid precipices and glaciers they made their way, 

1 See Book IV. chapter 10. ^ g^e Book I. chapter 46. 

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across chasm and along airy ridges of rock. And 
Napoleon himself, dressed in the grey overcoat 
which had become already famous, cheered on his 
men, inspiring them with that confidence which 
had won him so many victories. After seven days 
incessant toil they arrived at the end of their goal, 
and the victory of Marengo repaid them for their 
tremendous march. 

Two months later Napoleon was back in Paris. 

" We have done with the romance of the Revolu- 
tion : we must now begin its history," he said on 
his return to France. 

He was indeed to open that history with an event 
that affected the whole world, when, in 1804, he 
was crowned Emperor of France. 

Nothing could exceed the magnificence of the 
ceremony. Napoleon himself was dressed in a 
French coat of red velvet, embroidered in gold, his 
collar gleaming with diamonds, over which he 
wore the long purple robe of velvet and ermine, 
with a wreath of laurel on his head. His wife, 
now the Empress Josephine, in white satin glitter- 
ing with diamonds, was beside him. The Pope 
had been fetched from Rome to perform the service; 
but as he was about to crown the Emperor, he was 
gently waved aside, and Napoleon, with his own 
hands, crowned himself. 

He was more than ever bent now on the conquest 
of England, and all the forces of his vast empire 
were brought against her. Great Britain was the 

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one "barrier in the path of his ambition." His 
plan of invasion was very formidable. He con- 
structed a huge camp at Boulogne. In the port 
he had 1000 ships built, each to carry 100 soldiers 
and some guns across the Channel to the coast 
of Kent. 

" Let us be masters of the Straits for six hours/' 
said Napoleon, " and we shall be masters of the 

So sure was he of success, that he actually had 
a medal struck of Hercules crushing the sea-monster 
to commemorate the victory that was never won. 
There were French fleets in the harbours of Toulon 
and Brest waiting to help, as well as Spanish ships 
in the harbour of Cadiz. But for the present these 
were all closely blockaded by English admirals. 
There is nothing finer in the naval history of 
England, than the dogged perseverance with which 
these dauntless men kept watch. For two years 
Nelson guarded Toulon, for three years Cornwallis 
watched the French ships in the harbour of Brest, 
while CoUingwood blockaded a port in the north 
of Spain. It was these "iron blockades" that 
thwarted the plans of Napoleon, and saved for 
England " the realm of the circling sea." 

It was not till June 1805, that a general move 
took place. The French fleet escaped from Toulon, 
joined the Spaniards at Cadiz, and sailed for the 
West Indies. Nelson, with ten ships, went off in 
full pursuit, only to learn on arrival that the 

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French admiral Villeneuve had doubled back 
towards England. There was no time to lose. 

"The fleets of England are equal to meet the 
world in arms," Nelson said confidently. His words 
were to prove true when, in October, the fleets met 
in the last great sea-fight off Trafalgar, which was 
to decide England's supremacy at sea. 


" England expects every man to do bis duty." 

—Nelson's signal. 

The morning of October 21 dawned. It was one 
of the most important days in the history of the 
world, for on it, England won her greatest naval 
victory, and lost her greatest sailor, Lord Nelson. 

The sun never rose on a grander scene. Thirty- 
three French and Spanish ships stretched in a long 
line covering five miles of sea, off the coast of Spain 
between Cadiz and Gibraltar. In the distance be- 
hind them, Cape Trafalgar was dimly visible in the 
brightening light against the eastern sky. Tower- 
ing among the Spanish ships, was the Santissima 
Trinidad, with her 130 guns, the largest warship 
afloat, a gleaming mass of red and white. She had 
escaped the British at Cape St Vincent; she was 
not going to escape them again. The French and 
Spanish flagships were there in the midst, Ville- 
neuve being in command of the whole. 

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Nelson before Trafalgar. 

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The sea was very calm, the lightest of breezes 
ruffled its surface from time to time, while a long 
Atlantic swell rolled at intervals towards the 

Some ten miles away was the British fleet, 
numbering twenty -seven ships. It lay in two, 
long columns. At the head of one was Admiral 
CoUingwood on board the Royal Sovereign ; at the 
head of the other was Lord Nelson, the hero of the 
Nile and Copenhagen, on board the Victory. He 
had come on deck soon after daybreak, — a " homely 
figure, slender, stooping, boyish — boyish still in 
spite of so many battle scars, with the careless 
hair lying low on his forehead." The empty sleeve 
of his right arm, his sightless eye, the weather- 
stained uniform, the orders shining on his breast — 
all spoke of faithful service to his country. To-day 
he was to complete that faithful service, by the 
surrender of his life. 

Afraid lest the glitter of his medals should make 
him too great a mark for his foes, it was suggested 
to him to remove them. 

"In honour I gained them," was the proud 
answer; "in honour I will die with them." 

His plans for the battle had been made long ago. 
All through the moonless night, his signals had been 
flashing across the dark waters. He knew the 
position of the enemy's fleet. The order for sailing 
had been given, and the decks were being cleared 
for action^ when Nelson withdrew to his cabin. 

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1805.] THE FAMOUS SIGNAL. 129 

There he was found a little later on his knees, 
writing, and this is what he wrote : " May the 
great God whom I worship, grant to my country, 
and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great 
and glorious victory ; and may no misconduct in 
any one tarnish it ; and may humanity after victory 
be the predominant feature in the British fleet. 
For myself, I commit my life to Him who made me, 
and may His blessing light upon my endeavours for 
serving my country faithfully. To Him I resign 
myself and the just cause which is intrusted to me 
to defend. Amen. Amen. Amen." 

The British fleet was heading direct for the foe 
when Nelson next came on deck. It was about 
half-past eleven, when flags from the mast-head of 
the Victory, spelt out to the slowly moving ships 
Nelson's famous signal — "England expects every 
man to do his duty." It is said that a shout of 
approval greeted the admiral's message. 

" I can do no more," said Nelson. " I thank God 
for this great opportunity of doing my duty." 

On sailed the British ships in two lines, a mile 
apart, led by Nelson and CoUingwood. They were 
sailing at right angles to the enemy's line, intend- 
ing to cut it in two at two points. Nelson's old 
plan, of arranging for two English ships to attack 
one French, was at work. The French and Spanish 
flagships were in the middle of the line, and against 
them Nelson and Collingwood directed their course. 

It was just after noon when a very tempest of 

BK. IV. I 

Digitized by VjOOQIC • 

130 THE BATTLE BEGINS. [l805. 

shot was poured on to the Victory from eight great 
battleships around her. Nelson was pacing the 
deck, with his old friend and comrade Captain 
Hardy. Suddenly a shot passed between them. 
Both men started and looked at one another. 

"This is too warm work to last long, Hardy," 
he said, smiling. 

The Victory moved on amid tremendous fire. 
Her sails were riddled with shot, her topmast was 
falling ; but still her guns were silent till, suddenly, 
she discharged at the French flagship a deafening 
crash of cannon-balls, which struck down 400 of her 
men and put twenty guns out of action at once. 
Moving on her way with dignity, she next attacked 
a French ship, the Redoubtable. Fiercely raged the 
battle now along the line. Fiercely fought French 
and Spanish, none more bravely than the Redoubt- 
able herself Nothing could exceed the valour of 
the French on board the little ship, now fighting 
for her life between the Victory and the Temeraire. 
With half her masts gone, her hull shot through 
and through, twenty of her guns out of action and 
more than half her crew dead or dying, she fought 
on, with a heroism worthy of victory. It was a 
shot from her, that killed England's greatest 

He was pacing the deck with Hardy, when quite 
suddenly he fell, mortally wounded, with his face 
to the deck. 

'*They have done for me at last, Hardy," he 

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October 2Zst.z8o5. 

Fiue minntea past noon. 

• BHtl8h ^ 27^ 

o French '8 i «, 
m Spanish 76* 


The "Africa" 64, took a course too far to the north, 
and joined In the attach later In the day. 

JVind W.N.W. 








*0?>V /- 


■•••7 d 

•> » 

^ C 


'\ ** 

\ "\A. 











The French and Spanish ships marked m were taken or destroyed 
in the action. 

I.Santa Ana. Aiava's Flag Ship 

2.Bucentaure. Vii/eneuue's Flag Ship 

J. Principe de Asturias. Grauma'a Flag Ship 


S Royal Sovereign. CoHingivood'a Flag Ship 

dSantisima Trinidad. 

7. Victory. Nelson* s Flag Ship 

From * Deeds that Won the Empire,' '''*''^''' <>^*«^-''^'- 

by permission of Messrs Smith, Elder, & Co. 

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132 NELSON WOUNDED. [l805. 

exclaimed, as the captain picked him up. '*My 
backbone is shot through." 

It was true. The shadow of death had been over 
him all day. 

** God bless you, Blackwood," he had said to one 
of his officers, before the action began ; "I shall 
never speak to you again." 

They carried the wounded man below. Bravely 
he covered his face and medals with a handkerchief, 
that his sailors might not recognise him. 

Few stories in history are more pathetic, than 
this one of the death of Nelson, in the hour of 
victory. Faithfully every word that fell from the 
lips of the dying man, have been recorded, until 
every child now knows the details of those last 
sad moments. 


" Heard ye the thunder of battle 
Low in the South and afar ? 
Saw ye the flash of the death-cloud 
Crimson on Trafalgar ? 
Such another day, never 
England will look on again, 
Where the battle fought was the hottest 
And the hero of heroes was slain." 

— Palgeave (Trafalgar). 

While the thunder of battle roared above, they 
laid Nelson tenderly on a bed, in the dimly lit cabin 
below ; men lay around, dead and dying. 

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"You can do nothing for me," he said to the 
surgeon who bent anxiously over him ; "I have 
but a short time to live." 

He was right : the wound was mortal. Nothing 
could save the precious life, now ebbing away only 
too fast. 

'' Pray for me, doctor," whispered Nelson, as the 
agony of pain threatened to unman him. 

Still the battle raged on above. At every cheer 
that told of victory, a smile passed over the face 
of the dying man. At last the news came down, 
that the enemy was all but defeated, and hope was 
expressed that Nelson would yet live, to bear the 
grand tidings home to England. 

"It is all over : it is all over," was his sorrowful 

He longed to see Captain Hardy, who was busy 
on deck. 

" Will no one bring Hardy to me ? " he repeated. 
" He must be killed." 

" Oh Victory, Victory," he murmured once as the 
ship shook to the roar of her guns, " how you dis- 
tract my poor brain." 

At last Hardy snatched a few moments to visit 
his dying friend. Nelson grasped his hand. 

" Well, Hardy, how goes the battle ? How goes 
the day with us ? " he cried. 

" Very well, my lord," was the reply ; " we have 
got twelve or fourteen of the enemy's ships in our 

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134 NELSON AND HARDY. [l805. 

"I am a dead man, Hardy," he said presently. 
" I am going fast ; it will soon be all over with 

Hardy bent over his dying friend, then grasped 
him by the hand, and hurried back to his post on 
the deck with a bursting heart. 

''' One would like to live a little longer," Nelson 
said to the doctor when Hardy had gone. 

"My lord," was the heart-broken answer, "un- 
happily for our country, nothing can be done for 
you." And he turned away to hide his falling 

Another agonised hour passed away. It was 
four o'clock, when Hardy returned again to the 
cabin, where Nelson still lay. Grasping his hand, 
he now announced that the victory was almost com- 
plete. Some fifteen ships had been taken. 

" That is well," said Nelson ; " but I had bar- 
gained for twenty." 

Then as he planned out the end of the battle, 
arose a picture of a rising gale, and the battered 
British fleet perhaps drifting ashore with its prizes. 

" Anchor, Hardy, anchor," he said eagerly. 

" I suppose, my lord. Admiral Colling wood will 
now take upon himself the direction of afiairs," said 

" Not while I live. Hardy, I hope," cried Nelson, 
struggling to raise himself in bed. " No ; do you 
anchor, Hardy." 

" Shall we make the signal, sir ? " 

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"Yes; for if I live I'll anchor," was the firm 

These were his last commands. 

" Kiss me, Hardy," he whispered presently. 

Reverently the captain knelt and kissed his 

" Now I am satisfied," murmured Nelson. "Thank 
God, I have done my duty." 

Hardy had risen. He now stood looking silently 
at the dying Admiral. Suddenly he knelt down 
and kissed him again. 

" Who is that ? " asked Nelson. 

" It is Hardy," answered his friend. 

" God bless you, Hardy," murmured the dying 

And Hardy then left him — for ever. 

About half- past four — three hours after his 
wound — Nelson died. Before sunset all firing had 
ceased. The battle of Trafalgar was over. 

The news of the two events was received in 
England with mingled joy and sorrow. " God gave 
us'the victory — but Nelson died," said the people. 

Nearly a hundred years have passed away since 
the famous victory of Trafalgar, when Lord Nelson, 
Admiral of the British Fleet, was killed. But 
England's fleet is still her all-in-all; her realm is 
still the realm of the encircling sea ; and the famous 
isigaal, "England expects every man to do his 
duty," rings in her aars to-day. 

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" When Europe crouched to France's yoke, 
And Austria bent and Prussia broke." 


When the news of Trafalgar reached Napoleon, he 
had already given up the camp at Boulogne. The 
thousand ships in the harbour lay forgotten, the 
relics of a dismal failure. When Villeneuve, after 
giving Nelson a chase to the West Indies, had 
made for Cadiz instead of the coast of England, 
Napoleon's anger had burst forth. 

"That Villeneuve," he had cried, choking with 
rage as he strode up and down his room, " is not fit 
to command a frigate. What a navy ! What an 
admiral ! " 

His dreams of invading England by means of 
India, had vanished in the smoke and thunder of 
Aboukir Bay. His dreams of invading England 
herself, disappeared in the roar of the guns at 

But already his active brain was working on an 
alternate scheme, for bringing that proud nation to 
his feet. He could not conquer England, but he 
would conquer Europe. If he could not enter 
London, he would enter Vienna, the capital of 
Austria ; Berlin, the capital of Prussia ; Moscow 
the capital of Russia, — all of which countries were 
at this time allied with England against France. 

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He would conquer these, and so ruin England's 
trade in Europe ; close every port against her, and 
so reduce her to submission. England was the 
mistress of the seas, but Napoleon would be master 
of the land. 

In September of 1805 he left Paris for Germany. 
Already thousands of his troops were silently 
marching along a hundred roads from Boulogne to 
the Black Forest, to prevent the union of the allies. 
They were guided by the master-mind of Napoleon, 
and they marched to certain victory. 

Four days before the battle of Trafalgar, a large 
Austrian army was compelled to surrender to the 
French at Ulm, on the banks of the Danube. And 
while Nelson was preparing for battle off Cape 
Trafalgar, Napoleon was receiving the homage of 
the vanquished Austrians, and sending off a waggon- 
load of Austrian trophies to speak of victory to the 
people at Paris. This cleared the way to Vienna, 
which Napoleon entered as a conqueror on Nov- 
ember 13. 

Three weeks later Russians and Austrians fought 
side by side at Austerlitz, a small town to the 
north of Vienna. 

" English gold has brought these Russians from 
the ends of the earth," he told his soldiers. " In 
twenty-four hours that army will be mine." 

The sun rose brightly on December 3, the 
morning of the battle. It shone on the faces of 
73,000 Frenchmen, resolved to conquer or to die ; 

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it cast its shadows before the grey colours of the 
Russians and the white coats of the Austrians, as 
they pressed forward towards the frozen swamps of 
the little river that flowed by the town. And the 
"Sun of Austerlitz" passed into a proverb, as a 
sure omen for victory. It was the anniversary of 
Napoleon's coronation, too, and his soldiers cried 
with enthusiasm, that they would celebrate it in a 
manner worthy of its glory. 

The day wore on, and the two Emperors — 
Alexander of Bussia and Francis of Austria — beheld 
from the heights of Austerlitz, the complete destruc- 
tion of their armies. 21,000 Russians and 6000 
Austrians lay dead or dying on the field, while guns 
and banners fell into the hands of the victorious 

Austerlitz completed, what Ulm had begun. The 
union of Russia and Austria with England against 
France, was undone. Undone, also, was the English 
statesman who had planned the union. The news 
of the defeat of Austerlitz killed William Pitt. 
The brilliant son of a brilliant father, Pitt had 
played a large part in his country during the French 
Revolution and the rise of Napoleon to power. 

'' It is not a chip of the old block, — it is the old 
block itself," Burke had cried, when young Pitt had 
made one of his first speeches in the English House 
of Commons. He had loved England with all the 
fierce devotion of his father, the Earl of Chatham. 
He had refused to bow to the dictates of Napoleon^ 

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1806.] DEATH OF PITT. 139 

He had roused England to put forth her full 
strength to withstand the world -conqueror. He 
was "the pilot that weathered the storm." His 
last hopes for England lay in the help of Russia 
and Austria. Now that help was gone. He was 
already worn out with work and anxiety ; the 
hollow voice and wasted form had long told his 
friends that death was not far off. But now the 
news of Austerlitz killed him. He never recovered 
from the blow. The terrible ** Austerlitz look," as 
it has been called, never left his face again. 

" Roll up that map," he said, his eyes falling on a 
map of Europe that hung in the house ; " it will not 
be wanted these ten years." 

" My country ! How I leave my country," he 
murmured, as he lay dying in the new year of 1806. 

"England has saved herself by her exertions, 
and will, I trust, save Europe by her example." 

These famous words he left as a legacy to the 
country which he had loved long and passionately. 

And still the mighty shadow of Napoleon crept 
on over the map of Europe. England had no 
Nelson now to conquer on the seas, no Pitt to lift 
up his voice in her council halls ; and the great 
conqueror carried all before him. He had already 
made the Emperor of Austria renounce for ever the 
title of Roman Emperor, which had come down to 
him through the long ages of the past. It had 
been bestowed upon Charlemagne by the Pope 
nearly a thousand years before. It was now can- 

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140 THE PEACE OF TILSIT. * [l807. 

celled by a second Charlemagne, who ruled over an 
empire yet greater than the hero of the Middle 
Ages. The Pope was still sovereign of Rome, but 
''I am the Emperor!" cried Napoleon. " I do not 
intend the court of Rome to mix any longer in 
questions of the world. I am Charlemagne — the 

On October 14, 1806, the victory of Jena over 
the Prussians laid North Germany at his feet. As 
he had entered Vienna a year ago, so now he 
entered Berlin — a conqueror. Marching on into 
the heart of Poland, he now defeated the last foe 
left him in Europe. The summer of 1807 found 
him dictating peace to Alexander of Russia. 

A famous meeting between the two Emperors 
took place on a raft moored on the river Niemen, 
at Tilsit. 

*' I hate the English as much as you do," said 
Alexander, as he embraced the conqueror Napoleon. 

"If that is the case," answered Napoleon, "peace 
is made." 

By this peace of Tilsit, Russia, Austria, and 
Prussia agreed with France, to close their ports 
against British trade. 

" England," cried Napoleon triumphantly, " sees 
her merchandise repelled by all Europe, and her 
ships, loaded with useless wealth, seek in vain a 
port open to receive them." 

Had he succeeded, the history of the world had 
indeed been changed. 

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1769-1861.] DUKE OF WELLINGTON. 141 


" This is he that far away 
Against the myriads of Assaye 
Clash'd with his fiery few and won." 

—Tennyson (Wellington). 

For the moment it seemed as if the genius of 
Napoleon would triumph over England herself. 
But she was now to find herself armed against 
him by one of her greatest soldiers, — none other 
than the famous Duke of Wellington, — who should 
make her almost as strong by land as Nelson had 
made her at sea. The same year that Napoleon 
was born in Corsica, a son was born to Wel- 
lesley, Earl of Mornington, in Ireland. He was 
called Arthur. Little enough is known of Arthur 
Wellesley's childhood. 

"I vow to God," his mother exclaimed in the 
strong language of the day, " I don't know what 
I shall do with my awkward son Arthur." 

At the age of eleven he was sent to school at 
Eton, in England, where we get a glimpse of his 
first fight. One of his boy friends was bathing 
one day in the river Thames, when Arthur 
Wellesley took up a clod and threw it at him 
for fun. "If you do that again, I will get out 
and thrash you," cried the bather angrily. To 
tease him, the small boy Arthur threw another 
and yet another. The bather then landed and 

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struck Wellesley. A sharp fight began, in which 
the smaller boy, Wellesley, easily won. 

At the age of twelve, he was taken to Brussels 
by his mother. Here he learnt music, and little 
else. He played well on the fiddle, but displayed 
no other talent. In after years, when he was 
in India, he used to amuse himself by playing 
on the fiddle, till suddenly one day it occurred 
to him, that it was not a very soldier-like calling, 
and he threw his instrument into the fire. 

His mother soon came to the conclusion that 
her "ugly son Arthur" was "fit food for powder, 
and nothing more." So he was sent to a military 
school in France, where he studied at the same 
time that Napoleon Bonaparte was training for a 
soldier in the same country. On Christmas Day, 
1787, Arthur Wellesley became a lieutenant in an 
English infantry regiment. He was still a shy, 
awkward lad, in whom no one saw anything 
attractive. One night at a large ball, being un- 
able to find a partner to dance with, he sat down 
near the band to listen to the music. When the 
party broke up and the other officers went home 
after a gay and happy evening, young Wellesley 
was left to. travel home with the fiddlers. When 
in after years he became a great man, his hostess 
said to him, laughing, *' We should not let you 
go home with the fiddlers now ! " 

When he was twenty-one, he got a seat in the 
Irish Parliament, which then sat in Dublin. 

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1799.] SERINGAPATAM. 143 

**Who is that young man in scarlet uniform 
with large epaulettes ? " asked a visitor to the 
Irish House of Commons. 

"That is Captain Wellesley," was the reply. 

"I suppose he never speaks." 

"You are wrong," was the answer; "he does 
speak. And when he does, it is always to the 

Wellesley began his Indian career in 1797. 
Matters in the East were once more in a critical 
condition. Tippoo, Governor of Mysore, son of 
Britain's old foe Hyder Ali, was in secret corre- 
spondence with Napoleon for driving the English 
out of India. 

"I am coming to help you drive the English 
out of the country," Napoleon had written to 
Tippoo, as he started for Egypt on his way to 
India. The battle of Aboukir Bay put an end 
to that promise ; but Tippoo s attitude was very 
threatening, and against him, young Wellesley 
was now sent in command of troops. At Sering- 
apatam, the capital of Mysore, Tippoo was defeated 
and slain. Wellesley was made Commander of the 
Forces in Mysore, with power over the whole 
dominion of Mysore, till the little new five-year-old 
Raja was older. For the next two years he 
w^orked hard in Mysore, bringing the country 
into order, until early in 1803 he was given com- 
mand of a large number of troops, with orders 
to march against one of the Rajas who was 

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144 BATTLE OF ASSAYE. [l803. 

threatening the English frontiers. The rising 
was assuming a very alarming size when Wellesley 
encountered the enemy, strongly posted behind the 
river Kaitna, near the village of Assaye. His 
troops were tired with a long march, and the 
meeting was unexpected. He must either fight 
at once or retreat. He resolved to fight, though 
the force against him numbered some 50,000 men 
and 128 guns, as opposed to his 8000 men and 17 
guns. It was a great decision. It was his first 
great battle. The native guides assured him, that 
it was impossible to cross the river; the banks 
were steep and rocky, and there was no ford. 
But Wellesley made up his mind to take the 
riek. It was a breathless moment, when the 
advance-guard reached the river. The Highlanders 
plunged in, and suspense gave way to triumph, as 
Wellesley saw them half across with the water 
only waist high. Shot ploughed the water around 
them, but bravely they reached the farther bank, 
and a sharp conflict ensued. Wellesley himself 
was in the thick of the action the whole time, 
giving his orders as coolly as an experienced 
veteran. His horse was shot under him, but he 
mounted another and fought on. By evening 
the enemy was in full retreat. Wellesley was 
victorious on the field of Assaye. He had 
crushed the rebellion, and secured to England 
her dominions. 

For this he received the thanks of Parliament 

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1805.] RETURN TO ENGLAND. 145 

and a sword of honour from Calcutta, being also 
made a knight — a great honour in those days, when 
there were but twenty -four. 

His brother was now Governor-General of India, 
for which country a new era of prosperity had now 
begun. In the course of seven years British power 
was established all over India. But better than 
this, the brothers Wellesley put an end to the 
corrupt practices, that had ended the rule of Warren 
Hastings so miserably. Under them a new rule of 
honour and justice began for India, which is carried 
on by England to-day. 

Sir Arthur Wellesley now returned to England. 
He had left home eight years before, a young 
officer little known, less admired. He returned, 
having won his spurs and earned for himself fame 
and honour. He arrived just a month before 
Nelson started to fight his last great sea-fight at 
Trafalgar. For a few minutes only, the two men 
met — young Wellesley on the threshold of a career, 
which was to end in so much glory, and Lord 
Nelson, whose famous career was so nearly drawing 
to its close. 

BK. IV. 

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" I hear the sound of pioneers, 
Of nations yet to be.*' 

— Whjttier. 

The capture of the Cape of Good Hope was an 
important result of the battles of Camperdown and 
Trafalgar. The first of these destroyed the sea 
power of Holland, the second secured it to England. 

Slowly but surely the little colony founded by 
Van Riebeek^ at the Cape had grown and pros- 
pered. Let us take up its story from those early 

For some time, the colonists had been content to 
stay under the shadow of Table Mountain, but as 
the years passed on, the younger colonists became 
adventurous. Musket in hand, to drive back the 
native Hottentots of the country, they began to 
explore inland, until little settlements sprang up 
in all directions. They were presently joined by 
some 300 French Huguenots, who had been driven 
from their country and taken refuge in Holland. 
At first these people clung to their French language 
and service of the French church, but soon the Dutch 
forbade this, and they talked and worshipped with 
their neighbours. Not long after their arrival, a 
terrible outbreak of smallpox swept whole tribes of 
Hottentots away, and the inland country was clear 
1 See Book III. chapter 34. 

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for the European colonists. Farther and farther 
inland now they spread, over the mountains to the 
pasture land beyond. The grass was thin, and it 
was necessary to graze the cattle over wide stretches 
of ground. Thus they became more and more cut 
off from the coast and from the far-off homes of 
their ancestors. With their wives and children 
they followed the cattle from spot to spot : their 
children were untaught, their wives forgot the 
neat and cleanly ways of their Dutch forefathers. 
At last they reached the Great Fish River and 
came in contact with the Kaffirs. These were the 
natives, who occupied the lands from the Zambesi to 
the Great Fish River. They consisted of a number 
of tribes, constantly making war on each other, who 
appear later under various names of Zulus, Swazis, 
and Basutos. 

All the colonists fretted under the misrule of the 
Dutch East India Company. They were worried 
with petty laws and obliged to pay heavy taxes; 
the farmers were told exactly what to grow, and 
forced to give up much of their produce. The 
company had broken faith with the natives, and 
had imported a number of slaves into the colony, 
which had no need of negro labour. When, there- 
fore, in the year 1795 the news spread, that English 
troops were in possession of Cape Town, the idea of 
change was not wholly unwelcome. The English 
came as friends of the Dutch, in their united struggle 
against the French. The Prince of Orange was an 

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148 ENGLISH POSSESS THE CAPE. [1795-1802. 

exile in England, and the English carried a letter 
from him to the Dutch officials at the Cape. 

Conquerors and conquered came of the same stock. 
Of all the nations in Europe, the people of Holland 
are closest to those of Great Britain. True, 1400 
years of separation had altered the history of each, 
but many points of resemblance were left. Both 
were a liberty-loving people, both were Protestant, 
both had Viking blood in their veins. Moreover, it 
was as simple for the Dutchman to learn English, as 
it was for the Englishman to learn Dutch. Here is 
a quaint picture, of how the colonists from the sur- 
rounding districts came into Cape Town, to take the 
oath of allegiance to George III. of England. 

Over the Dutch castle flew the English flag. 
Within was the English governor. The gates stood 
open. First came the Dutch officials, all dressed in 
black, "well-fed, rosy-cheeked men with powdered 
hair." They walked in pairs with their hats off 
They were followed by the Boers or farmers, who 
had come in from distant parts of the colony. They 
were splendid men, head and shoulders above their 
neighbours, and broad in proportion. They were 
dressed in blue cloth jackets and trousers and tall 
flat hats. Behind each, crept a black Hottentot 
servant, carrying his master's umbrella. The 
Hottentot was small : he wore a sheepskin round his 
shoulders, and a hat trimmed with ostrich feathers. 

For nearly eight years, the English ruled. Then 
came another peace between France and England 

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after the battle of Copenhagen, by which the Cape 
was given back to Holland, now subject to France. 
The old Dutch East India Company had by this 
time disappeared, for since the battle of Camper- 
down, Holland had lost command of the sea. For 
the next three years, the Cape was hers again. 
Africa is a land of surprises : once more she was to 
change hands. 

The Cape had been " swept into the whirlpool " 
of the European conflict raging with Napoleon. 
More than ever now, England felt the importance 
of possessing the Cape as a naval stronghold, as a 
half-way house to her ever-increasing dominions in 
India. The power of the sea was now hers beyond 
dispute. The victory of Trafalgar made all things 
possible. So she sent an expedition to South 
Africa. Early in the new year of 1806, sixty- 
three English ships came sweeping into Table Bay. 
But a gale was blowing, and the heavy surf rolling 
in to the shore, made landing impossible for a time. 
The Dutch prepared to defend Cape Town, but they 
had not the means or the men. It was the height 
of summer, and the Boers of the country could not 
leave their farms. So the English took the Cape, 
and once again the British flag flew from the top of 
the castle ramparts. 

A few years later the English occupation was 
acknowledged, and Holland sold her rights for the 
sum of £6,000,000. 

The English governors were men of high char- 

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acter, and anxious for the welfare of the new 
colony. Reforms were introduced, schools were 
built, the slave-trade was forbidden, justice was 
administered. The Dutch law was allowed to 
remain as it was, and it is to-day the common 
law of all the British colonies in South Africa. 

It seemed as if an era of peace and prosperity 
were about to begin, and there seemed no reason 
why the history of the happy union of English and 
Dutch at New York, in America, should not repeat 


" Look, I have made ye a place and opened wide the doors." 


Beyond the Cape of Good Hope and across the 
wide Pacific lay Australia, the Great South Land, 
still occupied only by wandering native tribes. 
But now, as men pored over the thrilling journals 
of Captain Cook, they felt that " a new earth was 
open in the Pacific for the expansion of the English 

The independence of America, had made the 
plantations no longer possible for English convict 
settlements, so it was decided to use the new empty 
continent-island, in the distant Pacific, for this pur- 
pose. In the year 1788, the first fleet of eleven 
ships anchored off Botany Bay, on the eastern coast 

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of Australia, after eight months at sea. Some 800 
convicts were on board under Governor Phillips. 

The landing-place proved disappointing, and in 
an open rowing-boat Phillips explored northwards. 
Port Jackson fulfilled all requirements. 

** Here," wrote the governor triumphantly home — 
" Here we have the satisfaction of finding the finest 
harbour in the world, in which a thousand sail of 
the line may ride in perfect safety." 

In honour of Lord Sydney, Secretary of State in 
England, he named the chosen spot Sydney, and 
here to-day stands one of the most important towns 
in Australia. Soon the British flag was waving 
over the tents and huts of the settlers, and New 
South Wales was declared British territory, from 
Cape Howe, in the south, to Cape York, its most 
northern extremity. 

"What Frobisher and Raleigh did for America, 
we are to-day doing for Australia," cried the governor 
with enthusiasm, to his little band of pioneers. 

But, like other early settlements, this one was 
doomed to suflfer. Misfortunes fell thick on the 
little colony. A drought set in : the seeds did not 
sprout. The cattle disappeared, the sheep died. 
Store-ships from England were wrecked. And 
still more and more convicts were sent out. 

" We have not a shoe to our feet nor a shirt to 
our backs," wrote the wretched colonists. Famine 
stared them in the face. 

Yet in the colony's darkest hour the governor 

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152 BASS AND FLINDERS. [l801. 

never swerved from his opinion. '* This country," he 
repeats, "will prove the most valuable acquisition 
Great Britain ever made." 

Cheerfully he shared the slender daily rations 
with the convicts. But the time came, when even 
they were nearly finished. Phillips watched in 
vain for a friendly sail on the horizon. " At times," 
he says pathetically, " when the day was fast 
setting and the shadows of the evening stretched 
out, I have been deceived by some fantastic little 
cloud resembling the sails of a ship." 

At last it came. Men wrung each other's hands 
with overflowing hearts, women kissed their children 
with passionate tears of relief The colony was 
saved. But the governor was broken down with 
long anxiety, and had to return to England. 

On board the new vessel bringing the new 
governor, were two young men, thirsting for ad- 
venture. Their names — Bass and Flinders — are 
now famous in the annals of Australian discovery. 
No sooner had they arrived, than they set forth in 
a little boat only eight feet long, suitably called 
the Tom Thumb. They followed the coast of New 
South Wales for a considerable distance, making 
clear much that was obscure. Then Bass got a 
whale-boat and crew of six men, to proceed on a 
more important voyage of discovery to the south. 
It was successful beyond all expectation. He dis- 
covered that Tasmania was an island, and the 
channel that separates it from the mainland has 

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since borne the name of Bass's Straits. He had 
sailed 600 miles in his whale-boat through boister- 
ous storms, and he returned to Sydney to find 
himself a hero. His achievment ranked as one of 
the boldest in the annals of navigation. 

Soon after this, Flinders, in command of the 
Investigator, sailed completely round the coast of 
Australia. Starting from King George's Sound, 
in the extreme south-west, he passed by the bleak 
rocky heights of the Great Australian Bight, naming 
bays and islands as he sailed. On the map to-day 
we find ''Investigator Islands" and ''Investigator 
Straits." There, too, is Cape Catastrophe, where 
the ship's master was drowned, owing to the 
capsizing of the boat in which he was landing. 
Kangaroo Island was discovered by him, and so 
called because it was a very " kangaroo paradise." 
These quiet brown animals were so tame, that it 
was easy enough to kill them, and the ship's crew 
had a splendid feast after long privations on board. 
Encounter Bay speaks of his meeting with French 
ships, also exploring the coast of Australia ; and 
Port Phillip, named after the first Australian 
governor, was soon to become famous for the city 
of Melbourne, which stands there to-day. 

After a rest at Sydney the energetic Flinders 
set forth again. He sailed round the northern 
territory, which in 1863 was added to the province 
of South Australia, and returned to Sydney after 
another year's absence. 

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154 DEATH OF FLINDERS. [l814. 

It would take too long to tell the adventures 
that befell Flinders, on his way back to England : 
how he set sail and was wrecked on the great coral 
reef, which bars the north-east coast of New South 
Wales ; how he found a small boat of twenty-nine 
tons, in which he sailed safely across the ocean to 
Mauritius, where he was taken prisoner by the 
French, then in possession. For six years he lay 
in captivity, till Trafalgar had been fought and won, 
and Mauritius fell into English hands. Two more 
tragedies ended his life. The French had already 
published an account of Australian explorations, 
and his own account was published the very day 
he died. 

So far most of the exploration of the great south 
continent had been by sea. No white man had 
ventured far inland. For some sixty miles inland, 
running parallel to the east coast, rose the chain 
of the Blue Mountains. With their jagged peaks 
and bottomless chasms, they had so far proved an 
impassable barrier to the interior. Even the daring 
Bass had tried and failed. He had climbed preci- 
pices with iron hooks fastened to his arms, and 
descended into terrific caverns by means of ropes, 
but he had not been able to accomplish the feat 
of gaining the other side. 

It now became a matter of extreme importance 
to extend the boundaries of New South Wales 
inland. Shipload after shipload of colonists had 
sailed from the mother country, till more pasturage 

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was required for the ever increasing flocks and 
herds. At last three colonists started off, deter- 
mined to force a way through the Blue Mountains. 
Bound together by ropes and armed with axes, they 
cut their way bravely through the virgin forests, 
climbing as they went. Forward and upward they 
fought their way, where no white man had pene- 
trated before, past the spot, where Bass had failed, 
till they discovered a range, along the ridge of 
which they made their way. Arrived at the last 
summit, they were rewarded by the magnificent 
prospect, that now opened before them. They had 
seen their promised land, and the three ragged 
hungry pioneers made their way back to Sydney 
with their joyful news. The discovery meant new 
life to the colony, and two years later, just before 
the battle of Waterloo, a road was triumphantly 
opened across the Blue Mountains, to the famous 
plains of Bathurst. 

It was no wonder that Kendall, the poet of New 
South Wales, broke into song over this famous 

" The dauntless three. For twenty days and nights 
These heroes battled with the haughty heights ; 
For twenty spaces of the star and sun 
These Eomans kept their harness buckled on ; 
By gaping gorges, and by cliffs austere, 
These fathers struggled in the great old year ; 
Their feet they set on strange hills scarred by fire, 
Their strong arms forced a path through brake and briar ; 
They fought with Nature till they reached the throne 
Where morning glittered on the Great Unknown." 

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156 SLAVES AT THE CAPE. [l806. 


"When a deed is done for freedom, through the broad earth's 

aching breast 
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west. 
And the slave, where'er he cowers, feels the soul within him climb 
To the awful verge of manhood, as the energy sublime 
Of a century bursts full-blossomed on the thorny stem of time." 

— Lowell. 

When the English took over the Cape of Good 
Hope from the Dutch, there were a larger number 
of negro slaves there, than white men. 

Let us take up the story of the slave-trade, and 
see how Great Britain took the lead in stopping 
this deplorable labour market, which she had been 
among the first to start. 

From the earliest times, there had been slaves. 
Abraham had his slaves, the Greeks had slaves, 
the Romans had slaves. They were prisoners of 
war, kept as bondsmen by their conquerors, and thus 
deprived of freedom. Thus, when the Romans con- 
quered Britain, we get the well-known story of the 
little British slaves, in the market-place at Rome. 

One day the Bishop of Rome noted the fair faces, 
white bodies, and golden hair of the small boys 
who stood bound in the slave market, waiting to 
be sold. 

*' From what country do these come ? " he asked 
the slave-dealers. 

'' They are English — Angles," they told him. 

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"Not Angles, but Angels," commented the 
bishop, "with faces so angel-like." 

" What is the name of their king ? " he asked. 

'*-^lla," was the answer. 

** Alleluia shall be sung in -Ella's land," he cried. 

As Christianity spread, the condition of the slaves 
grew better, and gradually this sort of slavery 

But in the fifteenth century, slavery again grew 
and flourished. 

When the Portuguese,^ under Prince Henry the 
Navigator, were exploring the coast of West Africa, 
they one day brought back some black men, to show 
their royal master. The first idea in those days 
was to make these black men Christian, and to 
use them in the royal household. They were very 
useful, and more and more ships went off to the 
west coast, to bring back to Spain and Portugal 
these negroes. When Columbus ^ discovered the 
West Indies, these black men were shipped over 
from Africa in quantities, to take the place of the 
native Indians in the sugar plantations. Presently 
the supply of negroes from the coast was exhausted, 
and men had to go inland and hunt them down to 
the coast. The first Englishman to engage in this 
cruel traffic was Captain John Hawkins,^ of Eliz- 
abethan fame. In the year 1562, he sailed to 
Sierra Leone, where he captured 300 negroes, 

^ See Book 11. chapter 28. 
' See Book II. chapter 30. ■ See Book III. chapter 15. 

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158 INCREASE OF SLAVE-TRADE. [i7th cent. 

which he sold for high prices to the Spaniards in 
the West Indies. 

These were days of adventure and daring, in 
which human suffering played a large, silent part. 
Hawkins thought nothing of setting fire to native 
villages in Africa, and capturing the negroes as 
they attempted to escape. They were then chained 
together, as though they had been cattle, and driven 
to the coast .to wait for ships bound for America. 
In the small sailing ships of the day, they were 
crammed below close to one another, as herrings 
in a barrel. In this state, they had to toss on the 
high seas for weeks together. Hundreds of them 
died from cold, exposure, want of proper food, and 
disease, before ever they reached the new homes of 
their bondage. They were gratefully bought by 
the colonists in America, for labourers were scarce, 
and there was much to be done in the new country. 

Dutch and French joined in the trade. Each 
nation had its own slave centre in West Africa, 
and each shipped negro slaves to its own colony, 
on the distant shores of the Atlantic Ocean. As 
the demand increased, so the supply increased, till 
the slave-trade became the very life of the new 
colonies, the " strength and sinews " of the Western 

Soon more than half the trade was in British 
hands. From Liverpool and Bristol, nearly 200 
ships sailed in the course of one year, to pick up 
slaves in Africa to sell in America. 

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It was not till the eighteenth century, that the 
nature of the slave-trade came to be understood, 
when stories of cruelty and misery endured by the 
slaves, reached Europe, and all that was best in 
England rose up against it. Men began to inquire 
more into the condition of the slave. They learnt 
that he was treated as an animal, rather than a 
human being. 

"A slave" — ran the slave-dealer's contract — "a 
slave is in the power of the master to whom he 
belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his 
person, his industry, his labour. He can do nothing, 
possess nothing, nor acquire anything, but what 
must belong to his master." 

This was slavery indeed. Further, his children 
might be torn from him and sold to other masters, 
and he reaped no reward from the long and weary 
days of work often forced from him by means of 
a whip. Of course there were exceptions. There 
were slaves devoted to their masters, slaves who 
would die for them. But, as a rule, they were just 
so many cattle, and treated as such. 

The same year that America made her great 
Declaration of Independence, England declared that 
the " slave-trade was contrary to the laws of God 
and the rights of men," and it was decided, that 
as soon as a slave set his foot on the soil of the 
British Islands, he was a free man. But it was 
more than thirty years, before British merchants 
could be brought to agree to give up this large 

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source of profit. It was not till the year 1807, that 
the trade was finally forbidden. Meanwhile Den- 
mark had already abolished the slave-trade in her 
colonies. Gradually the other nations of Europe 
followed the lead. And so the slave-trade became 
illegal under the flags of the Western nations. 
The greatest slave-dealing nation — even freedom- 
loving England — had lifted up her voice against 
oppression and cruelty, had carried her point against 
tremendous opposition. 

'* thou great Wrong, that through the slow-paced years 
Didst hold thy millions fettered, and didst wield 
The scourge that drove the labourer to the field 
And turned a stony gaze on human tears, 
Thy cruel reign is o'er." 


" Her lover sinks — she sheds no ill-timed tear ; 
Her chief is slain — she fills his fatal post ; 
Her fellows flee — she checks their base career ; 
The foe retires— she heads the sallying host." 


While the world, growing more human, was rais- 
ing its voice against slavery abroad, Napoleon was 
turning his attention to Portugal, the traditional 
friend of Great Britain. He sent a force to invade 
Portugal, and her capital Lisbon was soon occupied 
by the French. Now Spain must be conquered too; 
Spain, with her many valuable possessions in South 

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America, must be added to the growing empire of 

On the throne of Spain, was an old and now 
almost imbecile king, Charles IV., a descendant of 
Louis XIV. of France. His son, Ferdinand, was 
little better than himself, and the court of Madrid 
was a mass of intrigue and scandal. 

Napoleon himself travelled to Bayonne, a town 
on the borders of France and Spain. Here he 
stopped, and sent for the royal family of Spain. 
Charles and his queen arrived with the rebellious 
Ferdinand. Angry scenes took place. The old 
king brandished his stick over the head of 
Ferdinand. At last he was persuaded to ab- 
dicate his tottering throne in favour of Napoleon, 
and retire on a pension to France. There was 
still Ferdinand to be settled. 

** Unless between this and midnight you too 
abdicate," roared Napoleon to the young man, 
"you shall be treated as a rebel." 

Ferdinand was terrified into yielding. Napoleon 
was triumphant. He had bought the crown of 
Spain and all her possessions. It was a master- 
piece of skill. It was also a tremendous blunder : 
he did not know the Spanish people. Such high- 
handed conduct goaded them to madness. 

When the news became known, that Joseph 
Bonaparte had been made King of Spain, one 
general heart-broken cry rang from end to end 
of the Peninsula. Then, like a volcano, all Spain 

BK. IV. L 

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burst forth in an explosion of fiiry and indignation. 
In one day, in one hour, without signal, without 
watchword, the whole nation rose, as one man, to 
withstand the power of Napoleon. From the 
mountaineers of Asturias in the north, to the sailors 
of Carthagena in the south, from the Pyrenees to 
the sea-coast of Portugal, the battle-cry rang out, 
as, with the pride of ancient Rome, the Spaniards 
prepared fiercely to defend their country. The 
story of how they defended Saragoza, is one of 
the most famous in the history of the world. 

Saragoza, the capital of Aragon, was one of the 
oldest cities of Spain. The very name — Caesar 
Augustus^ — speaks of Roman times. The town 
stood in an open plain, covered with olive grounds 
and closed in by high mountains. Standing on 
the river Ebro, it was entered by twelve gates. 
It was built wholly of brick : the streets were 
narrow and crooked. When the French soldiers 
began to besiege the town in the end of June 1808, 
there were but a few hundred Spanish soldiers 
there, sixteen cannon, and a few muskets. But 
the citizens themselves, under their leader Palafox, 
set to work to defend their town. They placed 
beams of timber together, endways, against the 
houses, in a sloping direction, behind which the 
people might shelter themselves, when the shot 
fell. To strengthen their defences, they tore down 
the awnings of their windows and formed them into 
' ^ See Book I. chapter 54. 

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1808.] BRAVE DEFENCE. 163 

sacks, which they filled with sand and piled up 
before the gates to serve as a battery. All the 
women helped. They formed themselves into 
companies — some to nurse the wounded, some to 
carry food and water to the brave defenders. 
Monks bore arms, and nuns made cartridges for 
children to distribute. 

Among the heroic defenders was Augustina 
Saragoza, a young woman of twenty-two. She 
arrived one day to bring food to the defenders at 
one of the gates, to find every man had been shot 
dead, so terrific was the fire from the French guns. 
Among the dead artillerymen was her lover, so 
says the story. So desperate was the scene, that 
for a moment even the Spaniards seemed to waver 
before they remanned the guns. Augustina sprang 
forward over the dead and dying, snatched a match 
from the hands of her dead lover, and fired off a 
26 -pounder. Then, jumping upon the gun, she 
swore she would never quit it alive, while the siege 
lasted. Such heroism put fresh courage into all 
hearts. The Spaniards rushed into the battery, 
renewed their fire, and repulsed the French. 
Augustina kept her word. She was the heroine 
of a fight, where all were heroines, and she is known 
to history as the Maid of Saragoza. At the end 
of forty-six days, the city was completely surrounded, 
food was failing, and no place was safe from the 
enemy's fire. On August 2 the hospital took fire, 
and again the courage of the women was shown, as 

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they carried the sick and wounded men from their 
beds and fought their way through the burning 
flames. Two days later the French forced their 
way into the town and occupied a large convent 
called St Engracia. The French general then 
summoned Palafox to surrender. 

" Headquarters, St Engracia. Capitulation/' was 
the brief message. 

** Headquarters, Saragoza. War to the knife," 
was the heroic reply. 

Terrible was the conflict now the French were 
in the town. The war raged not only from street 
to street, but from house to house, from room to 
room, for eleven days and nights. Stories of 
heroism are too numerous to tell. A Spaniard 
managed with difficulty to fasten a rope round one 
of the French cannon, but in the struggle that 
ensued, the rope broke, and the prize was lost at 
the moment of victory. By August 13, little of 
their city was left to the Spaniards, and things 
seemed at their worst when, early one morning, 
the French were seen in full retreat. The men 
and women of Saragoza had saved their town. 
True, it was taken by the French after another 
terrible siege, but the famous courage of the 
Spaniards was spoken of throughout Europe, and 
their spirit of patriotism helped to bring them that 
help from England, which, after years of fighting, 
freed their country from Napoleon. 

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1808.] NAPOLEON IN SPAIN. 165 


" Slowly and sadly we laid him down, 

From the field of his fame fresh and gory ; 
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone, 
But we left him alone with his glory." 

— Chables Wolfe, 

Meanwhile Napoleon was rejoicing in this new 
addition to his great empire. With the gold of 
Mexico, he would build a new fleet to rival England 
on the seas. 

" England is mine," he had told himself already, 
*' there is nothing to fear." 

But in reality there was much to fear. England 
had taken up the cause of the Peninsula against 
him, and Sir Arthur Wellesley was already landing 
on the coast of Portugal with British troops. With 
these, he drove the French out of Portugal, and 
leaving Sir John Moore in his place, he returned to 

Napoleon now saw that he would have to con- 
quer Spain for himself, and accordingly he left 
Paris at the head of a large army in the autumn of 
1808. In a week he had reached Bayonne, and 
soon the many passes of the Pyrenees were filled 
with the ceaseless flow of armed men marching 
under the banner of the Imperial French eagle. 

*' When I shall show myself beyond the Pyrenees, 
the English, in terror, will plunge into the ocean to 

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avoid shame, defeat, and death," said the great 
warrior, with confidence. 

In four divisions, the great French army burst 
into Spain, carrying all before them, and on 
December 4th Napoleon entered Madrid in triumph. 

"I will drive the English from the Peninsula," 
he said grandly, as he made his plans for marching 
on Lisbon and the south of Spain with a tried army 
of 300,000 men. 

"If Spain is not submissive, I shall give my 
brother another throne and put the crown of Spain 
on my own head," he announced at Madrid. 

But the daring resolve of a British soldier, was 
now to save Spain from the ever-tightening grip of 

Sir John Moore was already marching from Lisbon 
towards Madrid, when he heard of Napoleon's ad- 
vance in person. To go on now seemed madness; 
to retreat without striking a blow, was to betray 
Spain and dishonour England. Calmly he decided 
to try and cut off Napoleon's communications, 
keeping a road for his own retreat to Coruna always 
open, whence he could embark for England. 

This changed the plans of Napoleon. He set out 
in all haste to meet the English. It was three days 
before Christmas, when Napoleon and his French 
troops found themselves at the foot of the Guada- 
mar hills, which lay to the north of Madrid, 
between him and the English army. Deep snow 
choked the passes, a storm of wild sleet and snow 

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was raging over the mountains. The night was 
very dark. The advance-guard pronounced the 
way to be impossible. " But neither the deep snow 
nor the wild hills, nor the yet wilder tempest, could 
stay Napoleon's vehement purpose." Placing him- 
self at the head of the army, he advanced on foot, 
leading the soldiers through the darkness, amid 
storms of blinding hail and drifting snow. 

The army emerged, after two days' struggle, to 
find themselves just twelve hours too late to meet 
Moore and his army. He was already on the way 
to Coruna. Marshal Soult, one of Napoleon's most 
famous generals, was in hot pursuit. At the same 
time Moore was yet some 200 miles from the coast. 
Soult was pressing him hard : Napoleon was coming 
up like a tempest behind him. 

Christmas passed. The new year of 1809 broke 
to find Moore and the English still retreating, but 
Napoleon had given up the pursuit to Soult. 

"The English are running away as fast as they 
can : they fly in terror," he wrote from the town of 
Astorga, feeling Spain was already his. 

Meanwhile Moore was hurrying on. The road 
lay through wild ranges of hills, for the most part 
covered with snow. Storms raged around them, 
the rivers and little streams were swollen, there was 
no shelter from the deadly blasts of winter. Now 
and then they turned at bay, hoping that the 
French, who were on their very heels, would attack. 
Often through the long dark nights they struggled 

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168 BATTLE AT CORUNA. [l809. 

on, their feet bleeding, their clothes torn, — hungry, 
thirsty, out of spirits. 

At last they straggled into Coruna. They had 
lost 4000 men from cold and sickness, but not a flag 
or a gun. Three days' wait and the ships were 
ready to take them home. Orders for embarking 
had been given, when the French army, under Soult, 
was seen moving on the hills, above the town. As 
Sir John Moore saw what it meant, his face lit up. 
He might yet retrieve the tragedy of his enforced 
retreat, yet bring glory to the English arms. 

Soon the battle began, and was raging furiously, 
when Moore was struck by a cannon ball, which 
threw him from his horse and shattered his shoulder 
to pieces. Baising himself from the ground on his 
right elbow, not a moan escaped him, as he eagerly 
watched the struggle. It was not until he saw 
that the English were gaining ground, that he 
suffered himself to be borne away. One of his 
officers, Hardinge, began to unbuckle his sword, 
but Moore stopped him. 

"It is well as it is," he murmured. '*I had 
rather it should go out of the field with me." 

Every now and then he made the soldiers stop, 
halt, and turn round, so that he might see for 
himself how the fight was going. Those around 
him expressed the hope, that he might yet recover. 

" No, Hardinge," he said, looking at his terrible 
wounds ; " I feel that to be impossible." 

One among the little group burst into tears. 

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1809.] DEATH OF MOOBE. 169 

" My friend," said Moore, turning to him with a 
smile, "this is nothing." 

The surgeons who examined him at once saw 
there was no hope. 

"You know I have always wished to die this 
way," whispered the dying man. "I hope the 
people of England will be satisfied. I hope my 
country will do me justice," he added. 

And as nigit fell and the thunder of battle grew 
fainter and more faint, the hero of Coruna passed 
away at the hour of victory. Let the well-known 
lines by Wolfe finish the story. 

" l^ot a drum was beard, not a funeral note, 
As his corse to the ramparts we hurried ; 
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot 
O'er the grave where our hero we buried. 

We buried him darkly at dead of night, 

The sods with our bayonets turning, 
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light. 

And the lanthom dimly burning. 

Few and short were the prayers we said, 

And we spoke not a word of sorrow ; 
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead* 

And we bitterly thought of the morrow. 

We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed 

And smoothed down his lonely pillow. 
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head, 

And we far away on the billow ! 

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone. 

And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him ; 
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on 

In the grave where a Briton has laid him." 

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" Greatest, yet with least pretence, 
Great in council and great in war, 
Foremost captain of his time, 
Rich in saving common-sense. 
And, as the greatest only are, 
In his simplicity sublime." 

— ^Tennyson (Wellington). 

While Sir John Moore lay dying on the field of 
Coruna, Napoleon was galloping off with all speed 
to Austria. But he left orders with his generals, 
that they were to finish driving the English from 
the Peninsula and subdue the country. He made 
not the slightest doubt, that all would soon be ac- 
complished, and that his brother Joseph would rule 
undisturbed over his new Spanish kingdom. But 
as Sir Arthur Wellesley once more stepped upon 
the scene, the eyes of Europe became rivetted upon 
the conflict, that now threatened to overthrow that 

It was but three months after Coruna, that the 
greatest soldier England could now produce landed 
at Lisbon. Three French armies, under tried 
generals, confronted him in Portugal and Spain. 
It was against Soult at Oporto, that Wellesley 
determined to strike his first blow. So he marched 
northwards till he came to the river Douro, which 
rolled rapidly between him and the enemy at 
Oporto. The march had been quick, and Soult was 

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strangely unprepared for what now happened. 
Mounting a hill opposite the town, Wellesley 
hastily surveyed the situation. There was no 
bridge over the Douro, no boats visible on the 
banks. But the river must be crossed. Presently 
it was discovered, that a barber from Oporto was 
crossing over in a tiny boat. This was instantly 
seized, and, springing in, an English officer rowed 
back across the stream to the farther bank, where 
he found four old barges stranded in the mud, 
which he towed across. 

'*Let the men embark," said Wellesley hastily. 

As the English dragged their guns up the hill 
on the opposite side, Soult discovered what had 
happened. He had been completely surprised, and 
nothing was left him, but to retreat with all the 
speed possible. At four o'clock in the afternoon, 
it is said that Wellesley ate the dinner prepared 
for Marshal Soult in Oporto. 

With Soult in full flight, and Oporto, the second 
town in Portugal, in English hands, Wellesley 
determined to push on towards Madrid. The 
Spanish army under old Cuesta now joined him; 
but Cuesta proved a sore trial to the English com- 
mander. On June 27 the English and Spanish 
armies entered Spain, and Wellesley's troubles 
began. He had crossed the boundary with the full 
assurance that food should be found for his troops. 
But Spanish promises proved to be worthless, and 
the English were nearly starved. Horses died by 

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172 cuesta's obstinacy. ri809. 

hundreds, and the British soldiers were led on, 
complaining bitterly of their treatment. At last 
they reached Talavera, a picturesque old town on 
the Tagus, some seventy -five miles to the south 
of Madrid. Cuesta now proved hopeless. While 
Wellesley was discussing matters of the highest 
importance with him, the old man would fall asleep. 
On July 22, Wellesley found that a single French 
army was within striking distance, and Cuesta at 
last agreed to attack him next day, before other 
French troops joined him. Wellesley was arrang- 
ing the plan of battle for the morrow, when the old 
Spanish general rose and went off to bed. The 
British were under arms at three next morning, but 
Cuesta did not get up till seven. Then he arrived 
at the British camp in a coach with six horses, 
to say that, as it was Sunday, he must decline 
to fight. Later in the day, he was induced to 
examine the ground for the coming battle; but 
he soon alighted from his coach-and-six, sat down 
under the shade of a neighbouring tree, and went 
off to sleep. 

'*If Cuesta had fought, when I wanted him, it 
would have been as great a battle as Waterloo, and 
would have cleared the French out of Spain," said 
Sir Arthur Wellesley pitifiilly, when speaking of 

Cuesta's obstinacy cost him dear. Three French 
armies now joined forces — making some 50,000 in 
all — and held the road to Madrid. Among the 

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French leaders was Joseph Bonaparte, fighting for 
his kingdom. 

At two o'clock on the afternoon of July 27 the 
battle of Talavera began. Perhaps the chief feature 
in it was the flight of the Spaniards. " They fired 
one far-off and terrific volley into space, and then, 
before its sound had died away, no less than 10,000 
of them, or nearly a third of Cuesta's entire force, 
betook themselves to flight. The infantry flung 
away their muskets, the gunners cut their traces 
and galloped off on their horses : baggage-carts and 
ammunition waggons swelled the torrent of fugi- 
tives." And behind them all Cuesta, in his carriage 
drawn by nine mules, followed hard. All that day 
the battle lasted. Towards midnight the firing 
died away, but only to be renewed on the morrow. 
Right through the day the battle raged, until, 
when night again fell, Wellesley stood victorious 
on the battlefield of Talavera, though 6000 of his 
men lay dead or dying around him. The loss of 
those brave lives was not in vain. 

" The battle of Talavera,^' says one, " restored to 
the successors of Marlborough the glory which for 
a whole age seemed to have passed from them." 

The defeat of his army made Napoleon change 
his mind about the bravery of British troops and 
the ability of British commanders. 

"It seems this is a man indeed, this Wellesley," 
said Napoleon when the news reached him at 

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In this the whole world agreed with him. Eng- 
land showered honours on her hero. He was made 
a peer, with the titles of Baron Douro of Wellesley, 
and Viscount Wellington of Talavera. 

Henceforth the " ugly boy Arthur " is known to 
history as the Duke of Wellington. This is he — 

" Who never sold the Truth to serve the hour. 
Nor palter'd with Eternal God for power ; 
Whose life was work, whose language rife 
With rugged maxims hewn from life ; 
Who never spoke against a foe," 


" The land we from our fathers had in trust, 
And to our children will transmit or die." 

— WoEDSWOETH (Tyrolese). 

From the pursuit of Sir John Moore, Napoleon was 
hastening to Austria, where a storm was gathering 
which threatened to be even more serious, than 
that which had already burst over Spain. To help 
in the conquest of Spain, Napoleon had removed 
numbers of French troops from Austria. This 
therefore was the moment, for that unhappy country 
to rise, and struggle from under the yoke of France. 
Nowhere was the appeal to arms answered quicker, 
than amid the mountains of the Tyrol. The Tyrol 
was a rugged country, which had belonged to 
Austria for 400 years, till Napoleon had taken it 

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1809.] TO CRUSH NAPOLEON. 175 

away and given it to Bavaria. The people might 
in name belong to Bavaria, but the T3n:olese hearts 
were faithful to Austria, for which country they 
were ready to do and to die. 

One day in March 1809, the mountaineers were 
stirred by a proclamation from the Emperor of 

" To arms ! to arms ! Tyrolese," it ran. " The 
hour of deliverance is at hand. Now is the time 
to draw your swords while Napoleon is away. Be 
faithful to Austria. Young and old, to arms for 
your Emperor and your country, for your children 
and your liberty ! " 

It was received with shouts of joy* They would 
cast off the yoke of Bavaria and belong to Austria 
once more, and the ever-growing power of Napoleon 
should be crushed. At their head was Andrew 
Hofer, a village innkeeper in the Tyrol. He was 
a very Hercules for strength, a tall, middle-aged 
man, wearing always the peasant dress of his 
country — a large black hat with its broad brim, 
black ribbons, and a curling feather ; a short 
green coat and red waistcoat, over which he wore 
green braces; short black breeches and red stock- 
ings. To him the faithful peasants looked for 
guidance, and he did not fail them. 

So that the rising should be secret and sponta- 
neous, it was arranged that the signal should be 
made by throwing sawdust into the river Inn, 
which would float rapidly down and be understood 

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176 TYROLESE REVOLT. [l809. 

by the peasants. Success depended on secrecy, 
for Bavarians were at the capital of the Tyrol, 

It was the 8th of April, that sawdust was seen 
to be floating on the river. Throwing off his broad- 
brimmed hat, Hofer shouted, "Tyrolese, the hour 
of deliverance is at hand ! " 

All through the night, the passes of the Engadine 
seemed alive with moving troops ; the stillness was 
broken by the heavy tread of armed men and the 
rattling of waggons and guns. Fires blazed from 
the mountain-tops, and the Tyrol was known to 
be in open rebellion. A few days later, the main 
body, numbering some 15,000, had collected on 
the heights above Innspruck. 

" Down with the Bavarians 1 Long live our 
Emperor ! " cried the peasants, as they rushed 
to the attack. 

After two hours' fighting, they had won their 
capital back from the Bavarians. 

"Your efforts have touched my heart," wrote 
the Austrian Emperor. "I count you among the 
most faithfiil subjects in the Austrian dominions." 

In a few days. Bavarian rule was destroyed, and 
by the end of the month no foreign soldier remained 
on Tyrolese soil. Many were the brave deeds done 
by the men and women of the Tyrol to free their 
country. During one of the conflicts, a young 
peasant woman came out from a farmhouse, with 
a cask of beer on her head for her fighting country- 

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1809.] BATTLE OF WAGRAM. 177 

men. Heedless of the enemy's fire she made her 
way to the scene of action, when a bullet struck 
the cask. Undaunted, she placed her thumb in 
the hole made by the bullet, and gave the weary 
peasants a drink in spite of the danger she was in. 

Meanwhile Napoleon had reached Austria. On 
the morning of July 16, the two largest armies that 
had ever been brought face to face in Europe, met 
to fight. The great world - conqueror gained a 
complete victory over the Austrians at Wagram, 
entered Vienna once more in triumph, and dictated 
his own terms to rebellious Austria. 

This was a terrible blow to the peasants of the 
Tyrol. Austria might make peace with Napoleon, 
but the men of the Tyrol determined to go on 
fighting under Andrew Hofer. In vain did the 
Emperor beg them to lay down their arms, and not 
prolong a conflict that was over and throw away 
their lives ; in vain was Andrew Hofer bidden 
to appear before the Bavarians, who had retaken 

"I will do so," was the obstinate answer; "but 
it shall be at the head of ten thousand men." 

At the head of his peasant patriots, he once more 
posted his army on the heights above Innspruck. 
Below lay a road, along which the Bavarians must 
pass. Suddenly a cry rang out " For Tyrol strike!" 
and huge stones, trunks of trees, and stoixes were 
hurled down pitilessly on the heads of the be- 
wildered Bavarians passing below. The destruction 

BK. IV. M 

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178 D£ATH OF HOFEB. [18IO. 

was complete ; and on Napoleon s birthday, August 
15, Hofer triumphantly entered his capital He 
took up his abode in the imperial castle, and carried 
on the government in the name of the Emperor. 

Then came another letter from the Emperor 
saying decidedly, " I have been obliged to make 
peace with France." This meant that the Tyrol 
had been given back to Bavaria. Then, at last, 
the Tyrolese threw down their arms and lost heart. 
Hofer hid himself in a lonely little Alpine hut with 
his wife and children, and here, one bitter January 
day, he was found by French soldiers, who marched 
him through the deep snow to his trial as a traitor. 
The trial was short, the verdict certain. He was 
to be shot in twenty-four hours, before the Aus- 
trians could hear of his capture. Bravely Hofer 
had fought, bravely he died. Arrived at the 
place of execution, the French guards formed a 
square around the peasant hero. A drummer boy 
stepped forward and offered to bind his eyes, and 
bade him kneel. 

'* No," cried Hofer firmly ; " I am used to stand 
upright before my Creator, and in that posture 
will I deliver up my spirit to him." 

Firmly he uttered the word " Fire ! " Firmly 
he died. 

Twenty years later, the Tyrol was restored to 
Austria, and in the cathedral church the Austrians 
erected a statue in white Tyrolese marble to the 
peasant, who had fought and died for his country. 

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1809.] napoleon's AMBITION. 179 


" I have touched the highest point of all my greatness." 

— Shakspere. 

Having made peace with Austria and suppressed 
the restless Tyrol, Napoleon returned to Paris. 
His great ambition was still unsatisfied, and he 
now made up his mind to take a further step to 
improve his wonderful position. 

" I and my house," he said grandly to his French 
subjects, "will ever be found ready to sacrifice 
everything, even our dearest ties and feelings, to 
the welfare of the French people." 

This was the first time he had hinted to the 
world, of the great step he was about to take, in 
divorcing his faithful wife Josephine, in order to 
marry a royal princess of Europe. Josephine, the 
widow of a French general, had married Napoleon 
in the days when he was a lonely young Corsican, 
making his way upwards in Paris. She and her 
two children had been loved by him for fourteen 
years. To her son, Eugene, Napoleon had given 
important posts ; her daughter, Hortense, had been 
married to Louis Bonaparte, and was now Queen 
of Holland. Josephine had shared Napoleon's 
humble fortunes; she had been crowned Empress 
of the French but six years before. 

One November evening, in the palace of the 

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Tuileries, where they lived, Napoleon told Josephine 
of the step he intended to take. It was for the 
good of the empire, he told her. Was she willing 
to make this sacrifice? 

It was a scene that left its mark on the stern 
Emperor. Josephine pleaded and entreated until, 
quite overcome, she fell fainting at his feet. 
Tenderly he raised her and carried her down 
the narrow staircase leading to her room. But 
Josephine had received a wound past healing, 
and she disappears from history — a heart-broken 

Napoleon now turned to Bussia to ask the hand 
of Alexander's sister, but this was refused him. He 
then turned to Austria, and was accepted by the 
Emperor Francis, for his daughter Maria Louisa, 
who was just eighteen. Her journey from Vienna 
to the French capital is not unlike that of her 
great-aunt Marie Antoinette-^ forty years before, 
as she drove with her Austrian ladies to meet the 
bridegroom, she had never yet seen. Napoleon rode 
forth to meet her, and they were married with 
great splendour in Paris. 

Napoleon was now at the height of his greatness 
and glory. He had extended the French Empire 
far and wide. The rich lands beyond the Rhine 
owned his sway, in the person of his youngest 
brother Jerome. His brother Louis, having ab- 
dicated the throne of Holland, that country had 
1 See Book IV. chapter 14. 

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1811.] napoleon's son. 181 

just been formally annexed to France. The Pope 
had been carried captive to France, and the Papal 
States now belonged to the French Empire. Paris, 
Rome, and Amsterdam were the three great capitals 
of the world - empire. Sweden was not strong 
enough to resist his power, Austria was at peace. 
For the throne of restless Spain, Joseph Bonaparte 
was still contending, but Napoleon had no fears in 
that quarter. As yet Russia was following his lead, 
but it was evident she was fast " slipping out of the 
leading-strings of Tilsit.*' 

When Alexander of Russia had heard of 'Na- 
poleon's marriage with Maria Louisa, he had ex- 
claimed, " The next thing will be to drive us back 
into our forests." 

He was not far wrong. Russia had not been 
active enough in closing her northern ports to 
British trade. To press yet closer this " Continental 
system," as it was called, was Napoleon's only hope 
of still crushing England. If Alexander would not 
submit, Alexander must be made to submit. 

Napoleon was feeling more secure than ever just 
now. A son had been born to him in March 1811, 
and he had presented the baby Napoleon to his 
people, as King of Rome. For this child of the 
great empire was reserved the saddest of fates.^ 

" Now begins the finest epoch of my reign," 
the Emperor had cried in his joy, at the birth of 
a son. 

^ See Book V. chapter 14 

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He did not know, that it was the moment of 
his decline. 

It was August 16 — the day after his birthday, 
when the little Napoleon was six months old — 
that Napoleon sketched to his ministry his whole 
plan of the great Russian campaign, which had long 
been occupying his mind. He was going to invade 
Russia with an overwhelming force, and compel her 
to close every port to English ships. Now was the 
time to strike, for the Peninsular war was at its 
height, and England was already at war with the 
United States. 

A tremendous force was collected, numbering 
600,000 men. There were Austrians, Italians, 
Poles, Prussians, as well as French — all the soldiers 
of the empire. There were crowned heads in com- 
mand, and tried generals. Such a host had never 
been seen before in modern history. 

On May 16, 1812, Napoleon himself arrived at 
Dresden, with his wife Maria Louisa and the little 
child-king of Rome. Here the Emperor of Austria 
came to meet them, and various crowned heads 
paid court to the man who, for the last time, was 
figuring as the ** king of kings." 

A fortnight later, he was on his way to Russia at 
the head of his Grand Army. Arrived at the banks 
of the Niemen — the river forming the boundary 
between Russia and Prussia — Napoleon stopped. 
He was not very far from Tilsit, where he had 
made peace with Alexander on the raft in this same 

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river. Would it be peace again with the Tsar or 
war? He issued a proclamation to his soldiers. 

" Soldiers," it ran, " Bussia is dragged on by her 
fate : her destiny must be fiilfiUed. Let us march, 
let us cross the Niemen ; let us carry war into her 

In a very different spirit Alexander was address- 
ing his troops on the farther side. 

" Soldiers," he was saying, " you fight for your 
native land. Your Emperor is amongst you. God 
fights against the aggressor." 

Alexander spoke truly when he said, "I have 
learnt to know him now. Napoleon or I : I or 
Napoleon : we cannot reign side by side." 


"Old England's sons are English yet, old England's hearts are 

And still she wears her coronet aflame with sword and song. 
As ki their pride our fathers died, if need be, so die we ; 
So wield we still, gainsay who will, the sceptre of the sea." 

— Merivale. 

Napoleon had closed all European ports against 
British commerce. But as the fleet of Great 
Britain was supreme upon the seas, she made 
answer that henceforth no colonial goods should 
be obtainable in France except through British 
ships. The United States of America, as a neutral 
nation, taking neither the side of England, nor of 

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France in their terrific struggle, resented this 
action, for it stopped their direct trading with 
France. Indeed it paralysed all trade, and in June 
1812 the United States declared war on Great 

It was a bold challenge. England indeed had 
her hands full with Napoleon in Europe ; but even 
now her triumph was beginning. Napoleon was 
already on his fatal march to Moscow ; Wellington 
had seized the two frontier fortresses^ of Ciudad 
Rodrigo and Badajoz. But England had the 
greatest navy in the world — a thousand sail ; and 
the United States had the smallest — about twenty 
ships. The young Republic was full of <5onfidence 
in their newly found strength ; they had lost the 
guiding hand of Washington, who always upheld 
peace with the mother country. 

It was somewhat natural to find that England, 
rich in her traditions of Nelson and Trafalgar, 
thought but little of this challenge, until one day 
the startling news reached her, that five of her 
ships of war had been captured by the United 
States. Something must be done at once, to wipe 
out this unlooked-for disgrace, that had fallen on 
the British flag. 

One strong unassuming English sailor now took 

the matter into his own hands. Captain Broke, of 

H.M.S. Shannon, had spent the winter off* Halifax, 

Nova Scotia, where he heard of the declaration of 

1 See Book IV. chapter 39. 

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1813.1 A NAVAL DUEL. 185 

-• • 

war between the two countries. He at once began 
to drill his gunners more severely than ever, until 
he made every one of them a good shot. The dis- 
cipline on board his ship was splendid. His crew 
had worked with him for the last seven years ; they 
had shared hardships and dangers together; and 
there was complete understanding between master 
and man. All were alike burning with desire to 
meet the ships of the United States. The Shannon 
herself was not a large ship. She carried thirty- 
eight guns and 284 men. She bore the marks of 
her service in the icy regions of the north. " Her 
sides were rusty, her sails were weather-soiled ; a 
solitary flag flew from her mizzen-peak, and even 
its blue had become bleached by sun and rain and 
wind to a dingy grey." 

In May 1813 the Shannon lay off Boston. 
Captain Broke determined to end the naval dispute 
by a single challenge of ship to ship. As antagon- 
ist he chose the Chesapeake, a ship larger than the 
Shannon, and carrying more men. On Tuesday, 
June 1, he despatched a letter to Captain Lawrence 
of the Chesapeake, which had been lying for months 
past in Boston Harbour. 

" As the Chesapeake appears now ready for sea," 
ran the challenge, ** I request that you will do me 
the favour to meet the Shannon with her, ship to 
ship, to try the fortune of our respective flags. 
Choose your terms and place, and let us meet." 

Captain Lawrence was a formidable foe. He had 

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186 , CAPTAIN BROKE [l813. 

already captured the Peacock, an English battle- 
ship, and was known to be one of the most gallant 
of men. 

Having sent the challenge, Captain Broke now 
went up" to the mast-head of the Shannon and 
watched anxiously for any movement on the part 
of the hostile ship. A faint breeze rippled over the 
waters of the Boston Harbour, while the summer 
sun lit up the town beyond. Mid-day came, and 
Broke descended to the deck. 

" She will surely be out to-day or to-morrow," he 
said, pointing over the gleaming waters. The hours 
passed on. Daylight was beginning to wane, when 
a cry rang out through the ship, " She is coming ! " 

It was true. Sail after sail spread forth, flag 
after flag unfurled, and with all speed the Chesa- 
peake was seen bearing down on her expectant foe, 
attended by barges and pleasure-boats. 

To the meil of Boston, it seemed that Lawrence 
sailed forth to certain victory. They crowded 
house-tops and hills to see his success ; they pre- 
pared a banquet to celebrate his triumphant return. 

Slowly and in grim silence the Shannon and 
Chesapeake drew near. On board the Shannon, 
Broke was addressing his men. 

" Shannons ! " he cried, " the Americans have 
lately triumphed over the British flag; they have 
said that England had forgotten how to fight. 
You will let them see to-day, there are Englishmen 
in the Shannon who still know how to fight. Don't 

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Shannon and Chesapeake, 

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188 THE SHANNON WINS. [l813. 

cheer. Go quietly to your posts. I know you will 
all do your duty." 

As the Chesapeake moved on, a blaze of flutter- 
ing colours, one sailor looked sadly at the one faded 
blue flag above him. 

"Mayn't we have three ensigns, sir, like she 
has?" he asked. 

" No," answered the Captain ; " we have always 
been an unassuming ship." 

The fight soon began. Never was there a braver, 
shorter, or more deadly conflict. On both sides the 
fire was tremendous, but the well-trained British 
gunners on the Shannon fired with deadly aim; 
every shot told. The rigging of the Chesapeake 
was torn, her stern was beaten in, her decks were 
swept by fire. For six minutes the conflict raged. 
Lawrence had already fallen, mortally wounded. 
As the two ships ground together, Broke shouted 
above the din, " Follow me who can ! " Then 
bounding on to the deck of the Chesapeake, over 
the bodies of dead and dying, the English sailors 
boarded the American ship, and thirteen minutes 
after the first shot had been fired, the British flag 
waved over the Chesapeake. 

" Blow her up ! blow her up ! " cried the dying 

But it was too late. The foe had yielded ; resist- 
ance was over. Broke, now lying badly wounded, 
had won. He had restored confidence in his 
country's fleet, but at tremendous cost. 252 men 

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from the two ships fell that day. It was character- 
istic of the Captain of the Shannon, that he should 
enter in his journal for that day only two words — 
" Took Chesapeake." 

This ended the naval war, though fighting by 
land went on between the two countries till 1814, 
when peace was made, which has never been broken 


" No pitying voice commands a halt, 
No courage can dispel the dire assault : 
Distracted, spiritless, benumbed, and blind. 
Whole legions sink — and in one instant find 
Burial and death." 


The story of Napoleon's advance to and retreat 
from Moscow, is one of the most pathetic in human 
history. Full of spirit, the Grand Army had started, 
but already difficulties were beginning. It took 
three days to cross the Niemen, by means of 
pontoon bridges thrown across; but they reached 
the far side unmolested, and pursued their way 
over the sandy wastes. The solitude of the way, 
the sultry heat of a Russian midsummer, and 
drenching thunderstorms depressed the spirits of the 
army. By the time they reached Vilna — some 
seventy miles on — 10,000 horses had perished, 
30,000 stragglers had deserted, and there were 

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25,000 sick men, and the transports as yet ever 
SO far behind. 

It was not till July 16, that an advance was 
possible, and the Grand Army could once more 
march on its way to Moscow. Fever and disease 
now played their part, and food ran short. No 
human genius could have achieved the stupendous 
task, Napoleon had now undertaken. So fearful 
was the prospect, that Napoleon seriously thought 
of putting off the invasion till the spring. But 
the temptation of conquest was strong upon him, 
and once more the great host moved forward to 
Smolensko. The Russians moved out of each city 
as the French advanced. 

At last, on September 7, the two armies met 
some seventy miles from Moscow, and a tremendous 
battle was fought at Borodino. Both sides claimed 
the victory, which neither had won, though 40,000 
French and 30,000 Russians lay wounded or dead 
on the battlefield. 

The Grand Army, now so reduced in size, reached 
Moscow a week later. There lay the famous city 
at last at the foot of the hill, with its gardens, its 
churches, its river, its steeples crowned with golden 
balls, all flashing and blazing in the bright morning 
sunlight of that autumn day. 

" Moscow ! Moscow !" cried the delighted soldiers. 

''Yes, here at last is the famous city," said 
Napoleon, reigning in his horse. 

The conqueror entered his new capital, expecting 

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1812.] THE RETREAT BEGUN. 191 

to be met with the keys of the city and the sub- 
mission of Alexander. What was his surprise, 
then, to find the city empty and deserted I The 
houses were closed, the streets were bare. To add 
to this disappointment, flames were soon seen 
bursting forth from various quarters. The Russians 
had set their capital on fire ! 

For three days and nights the fire raged furiously, 
till from the very Kremlin or citadel, where Napoleon 
was staying, flames issued forth. A great part of 
the wonderful city was destroyed, and the question 
of food-supply again faced Napoleon. The Russians 
had swept the district bare. 

Still Napoleon hoped to bring Alexander to 
terms, but the Tsar's proclamation to his people 
showed, that he understood the peril of the French 
in Moscow : " The enemy is in deserted Moscow, 
without means of existence. He has the wreck of 
his army in Moscow. He is in the heart of Russia, 
without a single Russian at his feet, while our 
forces are increasing round him. To escape famine, 
he must pass through the close ranks of our brave 

Still Napoleon lingered on. September passed, 
October had begun. The idea of spending a winter 
in the blackened city, with only salted horse-flesh 
to eat, was intolerable, and at last the order to 
retreat was given. 

It was the 18th of October, just a month after 
their entry into the capital, that the French army 

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once more filed through the gates. There were about 
100,000 fighting men now, with a number of sick. 
Besides these, were a number of followers, stragglers, 
prisoners, baggage -bearers, — men of all nations, 
speaking all languages, — one idea of escaping the 
terrors of a Russian winter hurrying them onwards. 
So far the weather was fine. A few days after 
their start, a Russian army blocked their way. A 
battle was fought, and the Grand Army was further 
reduced to 65,000 men. On they hastened. They 
could rest and get food at Smolensko, if only they 
could reach it, before the snow began. On November 
6, winter suddenly came upon them. The clear 
blue sky disappeared, the sun was seen no more, 
bitter blasts of wind cut through them ; and then 
came thick flakes of snow, darkening the whole air. 
Through whirlwinds of snow and sleet, the troops 
forced their dreary way. Their clothes froze on 
them, icicles hung from their beards. Those who 
sank down from very weariness, rose no more. All 
order was at an end. Muskets fell from the frozen 
hands that carried them. Before, above, around 
them, was nothing but snow. Now and again they 
tried to light fires to thaw their clothes and cook 
their wretched meal of horse-flesh. 

" Smolensko, Smolensko," they murmured to one 

It was November 14, before they reached this 
longed-for goal and literally fought for food. Two- 
thirds of the army had perished in twenty-five days^ 

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and much was yet before them. They must push 
on quickly, — push on through bands of attacking 
Russians all the way. The firmness of Napoleon 
never left him. In the midst of the wildest swamp, 
in snowstorms and darkness, by night and day, he 
never lost sight of the fact, that this handful of 
hungry, frost-bitten men was the Grand Army of 
France, and that he, their leader, was the conqueror 
of Europe. They were now within three days 
march of the river Beresina, which had to be 
crossed, -when news arrived, that the Russians had 
broken down the bridge. The Emperor struck the 
ground with his stick, and, raising his eyes to 
heaven, cried, " Is it written there that henceforth 
every step shall be a fault ? " 

The situation was indeed desperate. They must 
march on and cross the river under fire, and across 
bridges of their own making. In the midst of their 
sufferings, they never doubted their Emperor. His 
genius had always triumphed ; he would lead them 
to victory yet. On they dragged — on towards the 
fatal Beresina. It was November 25, and late that 
evening, the first pile was driven into the muddy 
bank of the river for the bridge. All night they 
worked, up to their necks in water, struggling with 
pieces of ice carried down by the stream. The 
lights from the Russian fires gleamed from the 
opposite side. One after another his generals tried 
to persuade Napoleon to escape, but he refused to 
desert his army in the face of so great danger. 

BK. IV. N 

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194 TERRIBLE LOSSES. [l812. 

All went well for a time. Napoleon and some 
2000 soldiers were across, and the bridge was 
heavily weighted with masses of struggling men, 
when with a thundering crash and a cry of horror 
the bridge broke in the middle. The Russians now 
rushed to the attack, and terrible indeed was the 
onslaught. Thousands were drowned, thousands 
were killed. The scene was terrible. On November 
29, Napoleon and the remains of the Grand Army 
pushed on towards Vilna, where they arrived after 
a fearful march through ice and snow. 'Here at 
last the Emperor left them, to push on to Paris as 
fast as he might. 

Then, and not till then, the Grand Army lost 
heart. The weather grew worse ; the very birds 
froze in the air and dropped dead at their feet. 
On they tramped, with their eyes cast down. To 
stop meant certain death. The only sound in the 
stillness, was the dull tread of their own feet in the 
snow and the feeble groans of the dying. Their 
only food was broiled horse-flesh, together with a 
little rye meal, kneaded into muffins with snow- 
water, and seasoned with the powder of their 

Out of the 600,000 men who had so proudly 
crossed the river Niemen seven months before, for 
the conquest of Russia, only 20,000 staggered 
across the frozen river. The rest of that mighty 
host " lay at rest under Nature's winding - sheet 
of snow." 

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Just a week before Christmas, Napoleon reached 
the Tuileries. 

*' All had gone well," he said. ''Moscow was in 
his power ; but the cold of the winter had caused 
a general calamity, by reason of which the army 
had sustained very great losses." 


" For this is England's greatest son, 
He that gain'd a hundred fights, 
Nor ever lost an English gun." 

—Tennyson (Wellington). 

While Napoleon was marching on his ill-fated 
expedition to Russia, Wellington was wresting 
Spain from the grip of France. The hardly won 
victory of Talavera had not been much use, and the 
English had been obliged to fall back on Portugal 
in face of the huge French armies, which threatened 
them on all sides. The winter of 1810 was spent 
by Wellington, in securing Lisbon against the vast 
armies of Napoleon. 

To the north of the capital, run two rugged lines 
of mountains stretching from the coast, washed by 
the Atlantic Ocean, to the mouth of the river 
Tagus. No less than 7000 Portuguese peasants 
were set to work, to build forts and construct 
earthworks, to turn these mountains into natural 
defences for Lisbon. Bristling with guns, these 

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famous Lines of Torres Vedras, as they are called, 
formed a formidable barrier. The. summer of 
1810 found Marshal Massena, of Wagram fame, 
in command of the French army destined by 
Napoleon for the conquest of Portugal. In the 
ranks were 70,000 hero veterans of Marengo and 

" We will drive the English into the sea," they 
said with confidence, as they took fort after fort on 
their triumphant march. 

Wellington awaited them on the heights of 
Busaco, thus barring the road to Lisbon. 

" There are certainly many bad roads in Portugal, 
but the enemy has taken decidedly the worst," said 

From their high perch, the English could see 
Massena's great host marching onwards, their bay- 
onets gleaming, their helmets sparkling in the 
valley below. It was still cold grey dawn on the 
morning of September 29, when the splendid French 
troops swept bravely up the steep face of the hill of 
Busaco. The English grimly awaited them at the 
top. Neither side was wanting in courage. But 
it was only a few minutes, before the unhappy 
heroes of Austerlitz were rolling down the steep 
face of Busaco, the slopes of which were soon thick 
with dead and dying. 

Massena now heard for the first time of the Lines 
of Torres Vedras, that tremendous barrier, which 
made it impossible for him to reach Lisbon. He 

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had been warned of Wellington's work, but not of 
the existence of the hills. 

" Yes, yes," he said angrily, as the truth dawned 
on him, "Wellington built the works, but he did not 
make the mountains." 

For six weeks he camped hopelessly before the 
Lines, his army wasting with disease and starvation. 
Not till 30,000 soldiers had perished did he retreat, 
leaving Wellington triumphant behind his lines. 
The bitter winter passed ; spring gave way to 
summer, summer to autumn, and still the conflict in 
Portugal raged on. It was not till the winter of 
1812, that Wellington was able to turn his attention 
to Spain. His way was barred by the two great 
frontier fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, 
to the north and south of the river Tagus. Secretly 
and hastily, Wellington laid his plans to besiege the 
most northerly of these, Ciudad Rodrigo. It was 
strongly defended by the French, but the English 
smote it with strokes so furious and with such 
" breathless speed " that it fell in twelve days. It 
was midwinter; the rivers were edged with ice, 
snow lay on the ground, bitter blasts blew over 
the ramparts, the nights were black dark, but 
Wellington was undaunted. 

The siege began on January 8. It ended on the 
19th with a tremendous assault. Up the black face 
of the grim fortress swarmed the English in the 
dark night. •• Racing over broken stones, scrambling 
over huge rocks, upwards they rushed till the sum- 

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mit was gained and the French garrison driven 

" It was the rush of the English stormers up the 
breaches of Ciudad Rodrigo, that began the fall of 
the French Empire." 

Leaving a Spanish garrison in possession of the 
fortress, Wellington now with "heroic madness" 
pushed on for the next attack. Badajoz stood on a 
rocky ridge of extraordinary strength. Twice the 
English had already tried to take it : twice they 
had failed. But Wellington was "strong in his 
own warlike genius, and in the quality of the troops 
he commanded." 

On the stormy night of March 17 the siege began. 
On April 6 an assault was ordered. At 10 o'clock 
on that still dark night the English troops stood 
firm and ready for the attack. No less than five 
assaults were to be made at different points : each 
was equally heroic in its mad rush to the top under 
fire. But hour after hour of that terrible night 
passed away, and stiU the stormers had not taken 

" Why do you not come into Badajoz," cried the 
French from the top, to the English below, who 
gazed upwards at the grim height bristling with 
French guns, unable to advance, refusing to retreat. 
Wellington watched, his face grey with anxiety, for 
the cost in human life was tremendous. It was not 
till daylight, that the men gained the heights, and 
the French commander, who had been badly 

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wounded, surrendered. In that wild night -fight 
Wellington had lost heavily ; and as he gazed on 
the slope, strewn with the dead bodies of his 
soldiers, he burst into tears. 


" Not stirring words, nor gallant deeds alone, — 
Plain patient work fulfilled that length of life ; 
Duty, not glory — service, not a throne. 
Inspired his effort, set for him the strife." 

— Clough (Wellington). 

Much had been done by Wellington, in the capture 
of these two strongholds, but much yet remained to 
do. Spain must be wrested from the grip of the 
French, and he must fiilfil his commands. 

While Najx)leon and his Grand Army were start- 
ing on their fatal march to Moscow, Wellington 
was already advancing into Spain. On July 22 he 
met the French army at Salamanca, a very old hill- 
city, famous in the days of Hannibal ^ 222 years B.c. 
This battle has been summed up by a Frenchman 
as the " battle in which 40,000 men were beaten in 
forty minutes." Wellington himself considered it 
one of his greatest victories. Let us watch him 
during the day of battle. Shortly after mid-day he 
entered a farmyard, where food was prepared for 
him. Stumping about and munching his food, 

^ See Book I. chapter 46. 

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200 WELLiNGTON's VICTORY. [l812.- 

Wellington was constantly looking at the French 
army, where important movements were taking 
place. Suddenly mounting in haste, he galloped to 
a spot of observation. Closing his spy-glass with 
a snap, he said to the Spaniard at his side, "My 
dear Alava, the French are lost." 

The French Marshal had made a serious blunder. 
Wellington saw his chance had come. 

" Ned," he cried to his brother-in-law in command 
of some troops, " d'ye see those fellows on the hill ? 
At them, and drive them to the devil." Then to 
his nephew, afterwards the famous Lord Raglan, he 
said, " Watch the French through your glass : I am 
going to take a rest. When they reach that copse 
near the gap in the hills, wake me." 

He lay down in his cloak on the heath, among the 
sweet gum-cistus flowers, and was soon fast asleep. 

Between three and four, they wakened him as he 
had ordered. Before it was dusk, the French army 
was defeated. Through the moonlight Wellington 
pressed after the flying foe. The victory was com- 
plete : the way to Madrid was clear. Just a month 
before Napoleon entered Moscow, Wellington entered 
Madrid. The Spaniards in the capital threw them- 
selves weeping at his feet, hailing him as their 
deliverer from the French. 

But Spain was not yet delivered from the French. 
Large armies and tried generals from France still 
threatened the English, and Wellington had to 
leave Madrid. England was complaining bitterly 

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of her general. For five years he had been fighting, 
and it seemed as if the French gripped Spain as 
tightly as ever. Money and precious lives had been 
sacrificed. Napoleon would soon return victorious 
from Russia, and all chance of saving Spain would 
be at an end. 

Wellington spent the winter in Portugal prepar- 
ing for a final overthrow of the French. Joseph 
Bonaparte was now in command, having quarrelled 
with his brother's marshals. 

And so, when the vines began to shoot and the 
wheat was ankle deep, British drums and bugles 
sounded a long farewell to Portugal, for this must 
be the last campaign in the Peninsula. It is said 
when Wellington, at the head of his well-trained 
army, crossed the Douro into Spain, he turned 
round on his horse, and, taking off his hat, cried, 
" Farewell, Portugal : I shall never see you again ! " 

Then on he marched, his iron will more deter- 
mined than ever, on towards the Pyrenees to cut 
off Joseph, who had left Madrid for the last time, in 
his brief and troubled reign. 

"I looked beyond the limits of Spain," said 
Wellington as he marched on. "I knew the im- 
pression my advance would make on Europe." 

Joseph's army now filled the valley of Vittoria — 
70,000 strong. He still might escape over the 
Pyrenees back to France. But Wellington took 
care to block the royal road to France. 

At dawn on the morning of June 22, the battle of 

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Vittoria began. By evening, the unfortunate King 
Joseph was flying from the field, and Wellington, 
standing victorious on the scene of action, was 
watching the retreating French. As far as the eye 
could reach, fields and hillsides were covered with 
a flying multitude of soldiers and camp-followers. 
The streets of Vittoria were blocked with waggons 
and carriages. The rout was complete : the splendid 
French army was shattered. 

The spoil that fell to Wellington was enormous. 
It was the result of five years' plunder in Spain. 
Chests of money, baggage, gunpowder, plate, 
pictures, were left behind. A general rush took 
place to seize the forsaken treasure, and soon the 
plain was strewn with things ; while the soldiers, 
that night, marched about the camp arrayed in 
turbans and plumes, carrying about French monkeys, 
lap-dogs, and parrots. 

When Napoleon heard of the disaster, he was 

" What is going on in Spain ? " he cried. " Joseph 
could have collected a hundred thousand men : they 
might have beaten the whole of England." 

" Tell Joseph," he added later, " his behaviour 
has never ceased to bring misfortune on my army 
for the last five years. It is time to make an end 
of it. There was a world of folly in the whole 

No wonder poor Joseph vanished from history. 
He sailed away to America, where he ended his 

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1813.] napoleon's last HOPE. 203 

days in peace. Once he was oflfered the crown of 

" I have worn two crowns : I will not risk a 
third," he answered pathetically. 

So after five years of dogged perseverance Well- 
ington stood on the summit of the Pyrenees — a 

Napoleon at last had found a rival. 


" Farewell to the land where the gloom of my glory- 
Arose and overshadowed the earth with her name ; 
She abandons me now, but the page of her story, 
The brightest or blackest, is filled with my fame." 

— Byron (Napoleon's Farewell). 

Napoleon had returned to Paris at Christmas-time 
in 1812. The following spring found him taking 
the field again, for Prussia had suddenly sprung 
to arms and allied herself with Russia against 

Napoleon had lost his Grand Army. . The heroes 
of that fatal march, slept their last sleep beneath 
the winter snows of Russia, but he was undaunted 
still. His veterans were dead, but he called on the 
youth of the French empire. He commandeered 
lads of seventeen — the last hopes of France — to 
fight his battles. They were not soldiers, but 
children ; enthusiastic, superbly brave, but without 
the strength or endurance needed for such a 

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campaign. And it sounds almost brutal to hear 
their general complaining, that they "choked his 
hospitals with their sick and strewed his roads 
with their dead bodies." 

"I grew up in the field, and a man like me 
troubles himself little about the lives of a million 
of men," Napoleon had explained. 

And so great was his genius, that with this young 
army, he defeated the Russians and Prussians in the 
two battles fought at Lutzen and Bautzen. 

The defeated armies now looked to Austria for 
help, and not in vain. Austria joined them, 
England joined them. One by one the nations 
of Europe arose, to shake off the yoke of Napoleon. 

"A year ago," said the French Emperor, "all 
Europe marched with us ; now it all marches 
against us." 

It was five months after he had received the 
news of Wellington's victory at Vittoria, that 
Napoleon was beaten at last by the allies at Leipzig, 
in Germany. It was a terrible fight, lasting three 
days, and known to history as the " Battle of the 
Nations." It was almost a massacre in its loss of 
life ; but it shook Napoleon's throne, and it broke 
his power. 

On November 9, 1813, Napoleon returned unex- 
pectedly to Paris. He found the capital sullen and 
gloomy at the news of fresh disaster to the Empire. 
His Empress threw herself into his arms in floods 
of tears. The country was crying for peace. 

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1814.] napoleon's farewell. 205 

" Inspire my papa, O God, with the desire to 
make peace, for the welfare of France and of us 
all," was the nightly prayer of the baby -king 
of Rome. 

Napoleon listened and smiled. But he rejected 
the terms of peace now offered by .the four allies, 
and they prepared for the invasion of France 

" We must march to Paris," said the famous 
Prussian general, Bliicher. " Napoleon has paid his 
visit to every capital in Europe, and we can do no 
less than return the compliment." 

Yet once again. Napoleon prepared to march 
against them. On January 23, he held his last 
great reception in the palace of the Tuileries. 

" Gentlemen," he said to the assembled company, 
" a part of France is invaded. I am about to place 
myself at the head of my army, and with the help 
of God and the valour of my troops I hope to drive 
the enemy back beyond the frontiers.'' 

Then he led forward his Empress and the 
little king of Rome, a flaxen-haired child of three, 
dressed in the uniform of the National Guard. 

" If," he added in a broken voice — " If the enemy 
approaches the capital, I intrust all that I hold 
dearest in the world — my wife and my son — to the 
devotion of the National Guard." 

Amid sobs and shouts of fidelity, he carried round 
the child in his arms. Before the morning dawned 
on January 25, he said good-bye to Maria Louisa 

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and his little son, neither of whom he ever saw 

He now placed himself at the head of his hastily 
formed army, which was to oppose the great hosts 
of soldiers pouring down upon him from beyond 
the Rhine. A nine weeks' campaign followed. 
Napoleon was as full of genius and resource as 
ever, but the Powers arrayed against him were too 
strong for his boy army. Slowly he was pushed 
back from the Rhine to the boundaries of France. 
Toward the end of March, the Allies were nearing 
Paris. Still Napoleon did not despair. With a 
magnificent courage, he led on his weary troops. 

" If the enemy reaches Paris, the Empire is no 
more," he exclaimed, as he pushed vigorously 

On March 30 Maria Louisa and her little son had 
fled from the doomed city. Napoleon was even 
now within ten miles : he might yet be in time 
to save the town. Forward — forward to Paris. 
Then they told him the news. "Sire, it is too 
late : Paris has capitulated." 

Slowly the truth burnt into the brain of the 
fallen and defeated Emperor. Paris was his no 
longer. He could see the enemy's watch-fires 
glowing against the northern sky ; he knew the 
heights of the city were bristling with cannon 
which forbade approach. His great courage gave 
way at last. 

Meanwhile Alexander of Russia and Frederick 

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William of Prussia were riding side by side through 
Paris, while the people shouted for the restoration 
of Louis XVIII. as their king. Nothing was left 
for the Emperor of the French save to abdicate. 

" The allied Powers having proclaimed that the 
Emperor Napoleon was the sole obstacle to the 
re-establishment of peace in Europe, faithful to his 
oaths, he declares that he renounces for himself 
and his heirs, the thrones of France and Italy, 
and that there is no sacrifice, not even that of 
life, which he is not ready to make for the interest 
of France." So ran the words whereby Napoleon 
signed away his mighty empire. 

" Obtain the best terms you can for France. For 
myself I ask nothing," he said gloomily to the 
messenger between himself and the Allies. 

Yet his anguish was great when he found that 
his great empire was to be exchanged for the little 
island of Elba away in the Mediterranean, between 
Corsica and the coast of Italy. Such a position 
seemed intolerable. He sought to take his own 
life, but failed. 

" Fate has decreed," he exclaimed ; " I must live 
and await all that Providence has in store for me.'' 

Preparations went forward. 

" It is all like a dream," he said one day, putting 
his hand wearily to his head. 

On April 20 he said good-bye to the Imperial 
Guard, drawn up before him. Tears fell from his 
eyes, as he dismounted in their midst. 

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208 NAPOLEON AT ELBA. [l814. 

"All Europe," he said, "has armed against me. 
France herself has deserted me. Be faithful to 
the new king whom your country has chosen. Do 
not lament my fate. I could have died. I shall 
write with my pen of the deeds we have dpne 
together. Bring hither the eagle. Beloved eagle ! 
may the kisses I bestow on you long resound in 
the hearts of the brave. Farewell, my children; 
farewell, my brave companions, — farewell!" 

Then, kissing the war-stained banner of France, 
he turned from them and went on his way, while 
the sobs of the men, who had fought for him, fell 
on his ear. 

He was accompanied to Elba, his new home, by 
four representatives of Russia, Prussia, Austria, 
and England. Maria Louisa was safe in her father's 
keeping, and now refused to follow her husband into 
exile. Alone, bereft of all his friends, forsaken by 
wife and child, the fallen Emperor arrived at his 
island home. 

"It must be confessed," he said smiling, as he 
stood one day at the top of the highest hill in Elba, 
— " It must be confessed, that my island is very 

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" Science moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from point to 


To imagine a world without trains on the land and 
steamers on the sea is, in these days, very difficult. 
And yet, through the times of Nelson and Napoleon, 
neither of these were available for transit. It was 
not till early in the nineteenth century, that the 
first steamer crossed the ocean, or the first train 
steamed along its iron rails with passengers. 

All through the long ages of the past, men had 
been groping after the idea, that steam might be 
made to move heavy weights. But how? Point 
by point, step by step, they gradually discovered 
the great power of steam. Men, whose names were 
never written in the world's great history, struggled 
after nature's secret, each adding some atom of 
knowledge, to help those that came after. 

Thus the express train, that to-day can cover 
fifty miles an hour, and the great ocean steamer, 
with its possible speed of twenty miles an hour, 
were not the invention of any one man or any 
one nation. 

An ancient Greek at Alexandria, in the olden 
days, made the first steam-engine. It was only a 
toy, but it showed the power of steam to turn a 

BK. IV. o 

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ball suspended over a boiling caldron of water. 
But the years rolled on after this, and little was 
done till the art of printing,^ made known to the 
world, the discoveries of the men of old, and the 
increased industry of Europe, demanded some better 
means of transit for goods. 

Throughout the seventeenth century, Italians, 
Dutch, French, and English worked at this magic 
power of steam. Through success and failure they 
laboured on. But the eighteenth century dawned 
to find, that they had not got further than erecting 
clumsy engines at the mouths of mines, to raise 

It would take too long to tell of the accidents, 
that befell some of the new inventions. There was 
the poor Frenchman Papin, who, after a hard life 
and much valuable invention, made a steamship. It 
was merely a boat, into which he put a pumping- 
engine, which turned a water-wheel, which in its 
turn moved a paddle-wheel, and so moved the boat 
onwards down the river. But the boatmen on the 
river feared this new mode of steaming : they 
thought it would destroy their work ; and one 
night they destroyed the poor little steamship, 
leaving its owner and inventor to flee for his life. 

There was the man who made an engine on four 

iron legs, to move like a horse ; but it didn't move 

like a horse at all. There was the steam-engine, 

from which great things were expected, that 

^ See Book IL chapter 29. 

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James Watt and the Steam-engine, 

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suddenly burst, and it was a wonder that any of 
the bystanders escaped with their lives. 

A great impetus was given to inventors, by the 
discovery of a young Scotsman — James Watt — 
towards the middle of the eighteenth century. He 
had always been greatly attracted by the power 
of steam, and as a little lad, had made models of 
useless little steam-engines. One Sunday afternoon, 
he was walking by himself in a grassy meadow near 
Glasgow, thinking as usual about his engine, when 
a new idea came into his head with regard to steam. 
He set to work to make an engine on this new 
principle, and all men acknowledged, that a great 
stride had been made in the world of discovery. 
Watt's engine worked with great power, and used 
less coal than any before, but it made a terrible 
noise, and was very far from perfection. 

Meanwhile an American, named Fulton, was 
working at steamships. Watt's engine supplied 
a want. He ordered one to be fitted into his ship, 
and launched the " Clermont" on the river at New 
York in the year 1807. The boat did 150 miles in 
thirty-two hours — the first voyage of any consider- 
able length made by a steamer. But she terrified 
those who saw her. Dry pine-wood was used for 
fuel, and the flames rose high into the air, while 
the noise of the machinery and paddles so fright- 
ened the boatmen on the river that they threw 
themselves on their knees to pray for protection 
from the horrible monster, which was moving on the 

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waters, " breathing flames and smoke, defying wind 
and tide." 

Great Britain and America were now shooting 
ahead of the other nations with their inventions. 
It was reserved for an Englishman, to put the first 
engine on a railroad. In the y^r 1808, Trevithick 
built a railroad in London, and set at work a 
steam-carriage, which he called " Catch -me- who- 
can." It made a journey of about twelve miles 
an hour on a circular railway, but one day it was 
thrown off the track by the breaking of a rail, and 
never started again. 

Still the idea was sound, and a few years later 
George Stephenson made his first successful engine 
in the north of England. He called it the 
"Blucher,'* after the great Prussian general, who 
had fought against Napoleon, and was going to 
fight again in the course of the next year. The 
Blucher was clumsy and noisy enough, but it 
succeeded in drawing after it eight loaded carriages 
of coal, at the rate of four miles an hour, and 
worked regularly for some time. 

It was yet some years later, before passengers 
were willing to trust themselves behind such 
engines or on board such steamers, as have been 
described. The flames, the smoke, the jerky move- 
ments, the rattling of machinery, were enough to 
frighten the most courageous. But the new dis- 
coveries were enough to put a new face on the com- 
merce and industries of Great Britain. The iron- 

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and coal-fields of the north were worked with 
redoubled vigour ; lines were laid from the mines 
to the towns and the coast, and the steam-engine 
proved to be the most wonderful instrument that 
human industry ever had at its command. Great 
Britain had finally fichieved, what the whole world 
had sought for thousands of years, and by this 
achievement, she rose to be the greatest manu- 
facturing country the world has yet seen. 


"All Europe's bound-lines, drawn afresh in blood." 

—Mrs Browning. 

Napoleon's great empire had passed away. His 
fall restored peace to the troubled nations of 
Europe, whose boundaries he had destroyed. 

A great congress of European kings and states- 
men, now met at the Austrian capital, Vienna, to 
readjust these boundaries and to reinstate kings to 
their rightful thrones. It was a wondrous meeting. 
There was the Emperor of Austria himself, with his 
thin figure and sallow face, the father of Maria 
Louisa, Empress of the French in name alone ; 
there was the manly form of the Tsar of Russia, 
Alexander, with his wife, to whom the musician 
Beethoven had been playing; there was the King 
of Prussia, tall and very grave ; the white-haired 

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1814.] AT VIENNA. 215: 

King of Denmark ; and numerous other great men, 
including the Duke of Wellington. 

Picnics, balls, and banquets were the order of the 
day. Hundreds of royal carriages, painted in green 
and silver, rolled through the streets of Vienna, 
carrying the Emperor's guests from place to place. 
Outside all these festive scenes sat Maria Louisa. 
Her father^s guests were assembled to undo the * 
work of Napoleon her husband, even now an exile 
at Elba. Right away from the gay throng, she 
lived at her palace, her servants still wearing the 
French liveries of the court of Napoleon, her little 
son still dressed in the embroidered uniform of a 
French hussar, playing with his French toys. 

Meanwhile the work of the Congress was pro- 
gressing. Louis XVIII. had been recalled from 
England — where he had lived since the death of his 
brother Louis XVL— to take possession of the 
throne of France. Ferdinand of Spain returned 
from exile to rule over his Spanish kingdom once 
more; the Pope returned to Rome; the Prince of 
Orange was made King of Holland. 

Suddenly, one day, the news rang through Europe 
that Napoleon had escaped from Elba, and was even 
novr in France. The news took eight days to reach 
Vienna. The Congress met, and the great Powers 
drew up a declaration. "Napoleon," they said, 
'' was an enemy to Europe ; and, as a disturber of 
the peace of the world, must be treated as an 

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216 NAPOLEON^S ESCAPE. [l815. 

"Ah, Wellington," said Alexander of Eussia, ** it 
is for you once more to save the world." 

Ever since Napoleon had been at Elba, he had 
been in communication with the French. He heard 
of the unpopularity of Louis XVIII. ; he knew that 
his own powers were not dead. Once more he 
determined to risk everything. 

He made his preparations very secretly. He had 
a French ship painted in English colours at Naples, 
and brought round to Elba. Then one Sunday 
night, at nine o'clock, he quietly embarked with a 
thousand soldiers, on board the Inconstant. On 
doubling the island of Corsica, they fell in with a 
French cruiser. Its captain hailed the Inconstant, 
and, hearing it came from Elba, asked how the 
Emperor was. 

"He is marvellously well," answered Napoleon 
himself, ordering his soldiers to lie flat on deck to 
escape notice. 

That danger was passed, and the little ship sailed 
on towards the coast of France. 

"I shall reach Paris without firing a shot," 
prophesied Napoleon, as he stepped ashore near 

It was March 1, ten months since he had em- 
barked for Elba. No force opposed his landing. A 
few days later, he issued the proclamation he had 

" Soldiers,** it ran, " we have not been beaten. In 
my exile I have heard your voice. I have arrived 

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1815.] NAPOLEON IN PARIS. 2l7 

once more among you, despite all perils. Come and 
range yourself under the banner of your old chief." 

He reached Grenoble in safety. But here was a 
crisis : Royalist troops barred the road. Amid a 
breathless silence, Napoleon advanced alone. He 
was a familiar figure, in his grey cloak and cocked 

" There he is ! Fire on him ! " cried a Royalist. 

Not a shot was fired. 

" Soldiers," cried a well-known voice, " if there is 
one among you, who wishes to kill his emperor, he 
can do so. Here I am." 

Then the old shout, " Long live the Emperor 1 " 
burst forth on all sides as the soldiers, with tears 
running down their cheeks, flocked round Napoleon, 
vowing to be faithful again. 

They were the soldiers of Louis XVIII. : they had 
refused to fire on Napoleon. The scene decided the 
fate of the expedition. 

Soon Napoleon was at the head of 14,000 men, 
marching on Paris. On the evening of March 20 
he entered the capital. Louis XVIII. had fled to 
Ghent that morning. As the well-known figure 
was recognised, a great shout arose, and as Napoleon 
stepped from his carriage, at the gates of the 
Tuileries, he was seized by French officers and 
carried up the grand staircase of the palace. It 
was for the fallen emperor ** a moment of triumph, 
for which it was almost worth paying the price of 
Waterloo and St Helena." 

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218 THE HUNDRED DAYS. [l815. 

For the next hundred days Napoleon ruled France 
once more. He had been gladly accepted by the 
French people, but rejected by Europe. With a 
marvellous courage, he now determined to march 
against Europe. And the four allies — Russia, 
Prussia, Austria, and England — prepared to march 
against France. 


" There was a sound of revelry by uighty 
And Belgium's capital had gathered then 
Her Beauty and her Chivalry, and bright 
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men ; 

But hush ! hark ! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell ! " 

— Byeon. 

Napoleon left Paris at daybreak on June 12. 

"I go to measure myself with Wellington," he 
said as he stepped into his carriage. 

The slumbering capital was soon left behind. In 
twelve hours he was at Laon. The weather was 
very hot. As he neared Belgium, the country stood 
thick with corn. The wheat was just flowering, 
the barley was nearly ripe, the rye stood shoulder- 
high in the fields. 

He pushed rapidly forwards. On the 14th he 
had reached his great French army, which awaited 
him near Charleroi, on the frontiers of France and 
Belgium. He mounted his charger. As he rode 

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along the ranks a very storm of cheers greeted his 

" Not so loud, my children," he exclaimed ; " the 
enemy will hear you." 

If the soldiers were proud of their commander, 
he had every reason to be proud of his army. It 
was composed entirely of Frenchmen, inspired with 
splendid fighting spirit. Before him stood heroes 
of Marengo, of Austerlitz, of Wagram — all with un- 
bounded confidence in his leadership. 

" Soldiers," ran Napoleon's proclamation, " to- 
day is the anniversary of Marengo, which decided 
the fate of Europe. For every Frenchman of spirit, 
the time is come to conquer or to die." 

It was his last proclamation, as it was his last 

For weeks past, the British and Prussian armies 
had been guarding the Belgian frontier from France, 
while huge hosts of Russians and Austrians were 
rolling slowly across Europe, to join them in a great 
invasion of France. Napoleon s plan was to march 
suddenly and directly upon Brussels, win over the 
Belgians to his cause, and thus plunge the Allies 
in a hostile country. 

The distance from Charleroi to Brussels was 
about thirty- four miles. At a distance of some 
thirteen miles, lay the farmhouse of Quatre-Bras, 
at the crossing of four roads, as its name denotes ; 
beyond it, some thirteen miles farther, was the 
village of Waterloo, eight miles from Brussels. 

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On June 15 Napoleon marched into the town of 
Charleroi, where he was joined by Marshal Ney. 
Wellington was in Brussels at the time, the head- 
quarters of the British army* The town was 
crowded with English. Feasting and dancing went 
on every night. Napoleon was not expected yet 
awhile. The Duchess of Richmond was giving a 
ball on the night of the 15th* That very afternoon 
Wellington received the news of his movements. 
The great army of France, under its Emperor, was 
within thirty -four miles of the Belgian capital. 
Wellington ordered his troops to Quatre-Bras to 
hold the road to Brussels, and attended the ball to 
allay the fears of the English. Despatches reached 
him constantly during the evening. The situation 
was more dangerous than he thought. Ofl&cer after 
officer quietly left the ballroom at his command. 
At last he left too. 

"Napoleon has humbugged me," he said to his 
host, the Duke of Richmond. "He has gained 
twenty-four hours' march on me*" 

" What do you intend to do ? " asked the Duke. 

"I have ordered the army to Quatre-Bras, but 
we shall not stop him there. I shall fight him 
/lere," said Wellington, putting his thumb over the 
position of Waterloo on a map, which the Duke had 
lent him. 

Next morning, he was galloping in all haste to 
Quatre-Bras. There he found all quiet, and leaving 
the Prince of Orange in command, he hastened on 

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to Ligny, some seven miles farther, where Bliicher 
and a large army of Prussians were holding a 
position on the marshy banks of the stream running 
through the village of Ligny. Bliicher had already 
drawn up his forces in battle array. From the 
window of a mill hard by, Bliicher and Wellington 
watched the preparations of the French army. 
Together they arranged their plan of campaign 
against Napoleon. 

But as he cantered back to his own ground at 
Quatre-Bras, he said to a fellow - officer, **The 
Prussians will make a gallant fight, for they are 
capital troops and well commanded : but they will 
be beaten." 

Wellington reached Quatre-Bras to find that the 
fight was already beginning. 

He had not arrived a moment too soon. With 
drums beating and shouts of **Long live the 
Emperor ! " two French columns emerged from a 
neighbouring wood, — one moving off in the direction 
of Ligny, the other, under Marshal Ney, advancing 
on Quatre-Bras. 

All through that summer afternoon, the two 
battles raged. Wellington and Ney fought amid 
the cornfields at Quatre-Bras, Napoleon and Bliicher 
in the streets of Ligny, but a few miles distant. 

The day had been hot and sultry. As the after- 
noon wore on, a terrible thunderstorm broke over 
the scene. Crash upon crash of thunder mingled 
with the booming of the guns, flashes of lightning 

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222 JUNE 17. [1815. 

lit up the darkness that had crept over the sun, 
and a deluge of rain washed the blood-stained 
earth. As the thunder-clouds rolled by, gleams of 
setting sun lit up the battlefields of Quatre-Bras 
and Ligny. Evening found Wellington still holding 
the position of the cross-roads, which Ney had 
failed to secure ; it found Napoleon victorious over 
Bliicher, and the Prussians in retreat towards 
Wavre, to the north-east. 

The morning of the 17th broke. Wellington was 
riding along his outposts at Quatre-Bras by three 
o'clock in the morning. It was not till nine o'clock 
that he heard of Blucher s defeat and retreat. 

" Old Blucher has had a good licking," he said. 
" He has gone eighteen miles to his rear : we must 
do the same. I suppose they'll say in England we 
have been licked. Well, I can't help that." 

He then gave orders for the famous retreat to 

Meanwhile Napoleon, knowing nothing of Ney's 
defeat at Quatre-Bras, slept late. He had driven 
away the Prussian army. He had now only the 
British under Wellington to destroy, and Brussels 
would be his. ^ 

It was not till the morning had passed, that 
Napoleon suddenly realised that the English were 
slipping away from him. Frantic that the foe 
should escape him, he drove hastily to Quatre-Bras. 
There he saw Marshal Ney. 

^' You have ruined France," he said angrily to him. 

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1815.] THE EVE OF WATERLOO. 223 

But it was the moment for deeds rather than 
words. He now gathered up his powerful cavahy 
and dashed after Wellington. It began to rain. 
Each hour . the rain grew heavier, till the roads 
were ploughed up and the cornfields became 

On raced the pursuers, on raced the pursued, — 
galloping for their lives through the storm. The 
Emperor rode at the head of his cavalry. He was 
drenched to the skin, his grey overcoat was stream- 
ing with wet, his hat was bent out of shape by the 
storm. It was not till darkness was falling that, 
on the ridge of Waterloo, Wellington stood at bay, 
and the truth was borne in on Niapoleon, that his 
foes had escaped him that day. 
. Night fell, and still the rain poured down in 
pitiless torrents. It was the eve of Waterloo. 


" Waterloo did more than any other battle I know of towards 
the true object of all battles — the peace of the world." 

— Wellington. 

Sunday morning, the 18th of June, dawned grey 
arid misty. The ground was sodden with the 
night's rain. Wellington was up early. He and 
Napoleon were face to face for the first time in 
their lives. Each must prepare for a tremendous 
conflict : each was confident of victory. 

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By six o'clock in the morning, the British troops 
and their allies were astir, a ** miserable-looking 
set of men, covered with mud from head to foot," 
weary with the retreat of the day before. Mounted 
on his famous charger, Copenhagen, Wellington 
rode along the lines, as batteries, squadrons, and 
battalions took their appointed places, for the com- 
ing battle. His second in command asked him 
his plans for the day. 

" Plans ? I have no plans," answered Wellington 
impatiently, ** except to give that fellow a good 

The road from Charleroi to Brussels ran across, 
and over, two ridges of hills, between which lay 
a naiTOw valley. On the top of the ridge, some 
nine miles from Brussels, Wellington posted his 
army. He had two advanced posts. One was 
on the road — the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte — 
under the command of the Prince of Orange and 
the Dutch allies; the other was Hougoumont, a 
farmhouse and castle strongly walled in, standing 
in the valley. On the ridge opposite, on the other 
side of the valley, the French army stood to arms. 

"At last I have them — these English," said 

** Sire," ventured Marshal Soult, who had fought 
against Wellington in Spain, "I know these English; 
they will die ere they quit the ground on which 
they stand." 

"Bah!" was the answer, "You think that 

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BK. IV. 

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226 THE BATTLE BEGINS. [l815. 

because Wellington defeated you, that he must be 
a great general. I tell you he is a bad general, 
and the English are bad troops : we will make a 
mouthful of them/' 

On his little white Arab, Marengo, Napoleon 
surveyed his troops with satisfaction, as with drums 
beating, colours flying, and bands playing they took 
up their position for the battle. He had intended 
to attack at nine o'clock ; but he waited till the 
ground should dry, and it was half-past eleven 
before the first French guns rang out on the 
summer air. 

The tremendous conflict of Waterloo had begun 
in deadly earnest. 

Napoleon directed his first ftttack on Hougou- 
mont, which, however, was held heroically, by 
British troops, throughout the whole of that long 
day. Early in the afternoon, the other outpost, 
La Haye Sainte, was taken by the French, and 
it seemed as if Napoleon would carry all before 

Riding along his lines, Wellington encouraged 
his men. 

" Stand fast," he urged ; " we must not be beaten. 
What will they say in England ? " 

The French now approached the main line of 
the English, and so destructive was their fire, that 
the English squares broke and a gap was left in 
the centre. 

It was a tremendous moment. Wellington him- 

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1815.] THE LAST CHARGE. 227 

self led forward more troops to fill the gap. He 
was beset by questioning officers. 

" There are no orders," he answered gravely ; 
"only stand firm to the last man." 

The French were gaining ground steadily, but 
more troops were wanted. Marshal Ney sent 
a message to the Emperor to this effect. 

"More troops ! " shouted Napoleon. " Where am I 
to get them ? Does he expect me to make them ? " 

It is impossible to do more, than mark the leading 
events of this eventful day. At half-past four 
Blucher and the Prussians arrived on the field. 
For fifteen long hours, the heroic leader of the 
Prussians, defeated and wounded though he had 
been, tramped over muddy roads to reach Water- 
loo, in time to fulfil his promise to Wellington. 
Napoleon saw them : still he did not despair. He 
sent another tremendous charge of French cavalry 
up the opposite ridge. 

" Will these English never show us their backs ? " 
he cried, straining his eyes through the smoke of 
the battle. 

"I fear," said Soult, "they will be cut to pieces 

It was past seven, and the battle was still un- 
decided, when Napoleon prepared for his last final 
attack on the ridge of Waterloo. 

" You shall sup at Brussels," he said confidently 
to the Imperial Guard, with whom he intrusted 
this final charge. 

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He watched their gallant ascent of the now 
slippery slopes, with triumph. 

But suddenly Wellington's voice rang out clear 
above the storm of battle, "Up, Guards, and at 
'em ! " — such are the words that have passed into 
history — and from the shelter of the wayside banks 
behind the ridge, uprose the English Guards, 1500 
strong. Like a very wall of scarlet, they reached 
the summit of the ridge and poured a withering 
volley into the French. It broke the French 
column, and soon the very flower of Napoleon's 
army was retreating down the hillside. 

The Emperor was watching through his glass. 
Suddenly he turned deadly pale, and his hand fell 
to his side. 

"Why, they are in confusion," he cried in a 
hollow voice. It was followed by a cry, almost a 
sob. " The Guard gives way ! " 

As the sun shot its last gleams over Waterloo, 
the supreme moment arrived. Wellington recog- 
nised it. Standing on the crest of the hill, his 
figure outlined against the bright western sky, he 
took off his cocked hat and waved it forward. It 
was the signal for a general advance. For nine hours 
his soldiers had patiently endured the fiery storm, 
and now they rushed in magnificent order down from 
the heights, in pursuit of the wildly retreating 

Then Napoleon himself rushed into battle. He 
formed his Guards into four squares, and placed 

Digitized by 


1815.] ''ALL IS LOST." 229 

them across the line of retreat. The last stand of 
the French Imperial Guard, is one of the finest 
scenes in history. Like "fierce beasts of prey 
hemmed in by forest hunters," these men stood 
savagely at bay against their hosts of enemies. In 
vain, the British called on them to surrender. 

"The Guard dies, and does not surrender," was 
the heroic answer. And they perished almost to a 

Dusk was deepening into night, when Napoleon 
turned from the battlefield. " All is lost," he cried, 
as he turned his horse in the direction of Quatre- 
Bras. There he stopped, and looked yearningly 
toward Waterloo, while tears rolled down his pale 
cheeks. He had staked and lost aU. 

The victory was with the Allies ; but it had been 
secured at tremendous cost. Both Wellington and 
Blucher together lost over 20,000 men. 

Night was advanced, when Wellington, weary 
with the ten hours' fight, threw himself down to 
sleep at the little inn at Waterloo, his face still 
black with the dust and powder of the battle. 
Early in the morning, the doctor, at his request, 
brought the list of killed and wounded. He began 
to read it aloud to Wellington. He read for an 
hour ; then he looked up. There sat the Iron Duke, 
his hands clasped together, while tears were making 
long white streaks down his battle-soiled cheeks. 

" Go on," he groaned ; " for God's sake go on. 
It is terrible." 

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So ended the battle of Waterloo. It ended the 
military careers of Wellington and Napoleon at 
the early ages of forty -six ; it ended the great 
Napoleonic struggle, and brought to Europe thirty 
years of peace. 


" He fought a thousand glorious wars, 
And more than half the world was his ; 
And somewhere now, in yonder stars, 
Can tell, mayhap, what greatness is." 


Napoleon arrived back in Paris at sunrise, on 
the 21st of June. It was but just over a week 
since he had left it, so full of hope and victory. 
Nothing was left to him now, but to abdicate a 
second time. 

" Frenchmen," ran his proclamation, " I offer my- 
self as a sacrifice to the hatred of the enemies of 
France. My political life is ended, and I proclaim 
my son Napoleon II., Emperor of the French." 

But this was not allowed : he was ordered to 
leave France at once. Wellington and Blucher 
were already marching on Paris to restore Louis 
XVIII. once again. On July 7 they marched into 
the capital. The next day Louis arrived. Napoleon 
had reigned just one hundred days. To avoid 
arrest, he escaped to a seaport near La Rochelle, in- 

Digitized by 


1815.] TO ST HELENA. 231 

tending to sail for America. Here he was in sore 
straits, when the Allies bade him leave France 
within twenty -four hours. English ships were 
cruising in the Bay of Biscay. To put to sea en- 
sured capture, to stay in France ensured arrest. 
He surrendered to the English captain of the 
Bellerophon. He wished to live in England, under 
an assumed name, as a private citizen. 

"I come, like Themistocles," he said, "to seat 
myself at the hearth of the British people." 

The Bellerophon sailed for England, and anchored 
at Plymouth for orders. Meanwhile the Allies had 
decided that the island of St Helena should be his 
home. It was a lonely island belonging to England, 
right away in the far Atlantic, midway between 
the coasts of Africa and South America. The vast 
waters, that rolled between France and St Helena 
would prevent any repetition of the escape from 
Elba, and British warships should watch the rocky 
coast of the island by day and night. No more 
could Napoleon upset the peace of Europe. 

" I will not go to St Helena," he cried when he 
learned his fate. But in vain he protested. 

" Better St Helena than Russia," said one. 

" Russia ! God keep me from that," he answered 

On August 8, an English ship bore him away to 
St Helena. For the lait time, Napoleon gazed at 
the dim coast of France, till it vanished from sight, 
and the great ship ploughed through the Atlantic 

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waves, carrying the lonely exile to that far-off island, 
which was to be his prison and his grave. 

It was October 16, when at last he stepped ashore. 
A guard of sentinels kept watch over him all day. 
Once in every twenty-four hoiu-s, a British officer 
had to see him, to make sure he had not escaped. 


fP^ ^^^^f^' 



Nhitthati '*';gS^W 



t^TP^iP^^'^!^*''""'* ^' 

fhna Pasture Pt.^f MKWW 












Scale bfHae* 
? ? ? 

From * How RngUnd Saved F.urope,' 
by permisMon of Messrs Smith, Elder, & Co. 

All his letters were examined. He was addressed 
as General Bonaparte. The lord of so many palaces 
in Europe, was now confined to two small rooms. 
In the corner of one, stood his little camp-bed, with 
the gi^een silk curtains, which he had used at 
Marengo and Austerlitz. On his walls hung a 
portrait of Maria Louisa, the wife who had shared 

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1821.] DEATH OF NAPOLEON. 233 

his throne, but would not share his exile. A picture 
of his little son Napoleon, riding on a lamb, hung 
near him, and a miniature of Josephine, who not 
long survived his fall. 

The days passed away in monotonous gloom. He 
read, he gardened, he drove out, he wrote an 
account of his deeds. Usually he was calm, but 
now and then he would burst forth about the past. 

"It was a fine empire," he said one day. "I 
ruled eighty-three millions of human beings — more 
than half the population of Europe." 

Six weary years slipped by. 

Death came almost suddenly at the last. It was 
not till a week before the end, that either he or the 
doctors realised that the disease he had suffered 
from for years, was now killing him. 

His mind went back to years that were past. 
"France," he muttered as he lay dying, "Army 
— Head of the army." 

A great storm raged outside. It tore up the 
trees that Napoleon had planted, uprooted the 
willow under which he had sat, shook the frail 
tents of his sentinel soldiers; and "amid the 
tumult of the raging sea and the shaking land 
and the tempest -torn skies, the fierce spirit of 
Napoleon passed away." 

Reverently they covered him with the martial 
cloak that, as a young conqueror, he had worn 
at the battle of Marengo. They buried him in 
the island of St Helena ; but nineteen years later 

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234 England's sea power. [i815, 

his body was taken back to France, and Paris, 
once his great capital, opened her arms to receive 
back her mighty dead. He who had raised her 
to such heights of glory, he who had dashed her 
to such depths of disaster, now lies in her midst. 

The results of Napoleon's life were great and 
far-reaching. Not only had he re -moulded the 
France of the Revolution, but he had laid the 
foundations of new life in Italy and Germany. 
Everywhere in Europe, he had broken down the 
old barriers of custom and prejudice and created 
a new spirit of freedom and independence. 

He had set his whole heart on the conquest of 
England, and in the end England had conquered 
him. She emerged from the long struggle " Clad 
with a great fame." 

She had won the power of the sea. This was 
the secret of that success, that was to see her flag 
flying over a sixth part of the world in the century 
to come. But another secret was hers : she was 
firm in the belief of that watchword, which won 
for Nelson the battle of Trafalgar, for Wellington 
Waterloo ; that watchword, which must ever lead 
her from strength to strength, as the years roll 
onward into space — "England expects every man 
to do his duty." 

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1. Primer of Indian History. Wheeler. 
Story of India. Boulger. Empire Series. 
British India. Frazer. Story of the Nations. 

Life of Akbar and Aurangzeh. Rulers of India. Ed. by Sir W. W. 

2. Clive. Malleson. Rulers of India. 
Dupleix. Malleson. Rulers of India. 
Essay on Clive. Macaulay. 

3. Hise of the British Dominion in India. Ly^ll. 

4. America. Doyle. Macmillan's Historical Course. 
Canada. Bourinot. Story of the Nations. 
Story of Canada. Kennedy. Empire Series. 
Evangeline. (Poem. ) Longfellow. 

5. George Washington. Washington Irving. 

George Washington. Johnston. Great Commanders Series. 
George Washington. Lodge. American Statesmen Series. 
The Virginians. (Fiction.) Thackeray. 

6. William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, and the Grmoth and Division of the British 

Empire. 1708-1778. Green. Heroes of the Nations. 
Short History of the English People. Greene. 

7. Wolfe. Bradley. English Men of Action. 

The Fight with France for North America. Bradley. 
Canada under British Rule. 1760-1900. Bourinot. Cambridge His- 
torical Series. 
Montcalm and Wolfe. Parkman. 
9. United States of America. 1765-1865. Channing. Cambridge Historical 
Short History of the United States. Justin McCarthy. 
10. War of American Independence. 1775-1783. Longman's Modem History 


Digitized by 


236 teacher's appendix. 


11. Captain Cook. English Meu of Action. 

Cook's Voyages, Ed. M. B. Synge. (Nelson's.) 

History of the Australasian Colonies to 1893. Jenks. Cambridge His- 
torical Series. 

12. Bruce and the Nile. World's Qreat Explorers. 
Story of Geographical Discovery. Jacobs. (Newnes). 

13. Warren Hastings. Trotter. Rulers of India Series. 
Warren Hastings. Essay by Macaulay. 

Burke. Morley. English Men of Letters. 
Jtise of the British Dominion in India, Lyall. 
British India, Frazer. Story of the Nations. 

14. French Revolution, Carlyle. 

French Revolution. Qardiner. Longman's Epochs of Modern History. 

French Revolution. Mallet. University Extension Manual. 

History of Modem Europe. In 6 vols. Dyer and Hassall. Vol. v. 

A Tale of Tuio Cities. (Fiction.) Dickens. 

18. Napoleon, J. H. Rose. 

Napoleon : Warrior amd Rvler^ and the Military Supremacy of Revolu- 
tionary France, Heroes of the Nations. 
Napoleon. Seeley. 

19. Nelson : Embodiment of the Sea Po%oer of Great Britain. Mahan. 
Nelson and the Naval Supremacy of England, Clark Russell. Heroes of 

the Nations. 
Nelson. Southey. 

20. Mungo Park and the Niger. The World's Great Explorers. 
Mungo Park. Maclachlan. Famous Scots Series. 

21. Humboldt's Travels, 

22. History of Modem Europe. T>jer and Hassall. Vol. v. (1789-1815.) 
Modem Europe, Fyflfe. In 1 vol. (1792-1878.) 

Lives of Nelson and Napoleon, Ite above. 

29. Wellington. Sir Herbert Maxwell 
Wellington. Lord Roberts. 

Wellington, Hooper. English Men of Action. 

Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington. (Poem.) Tennyson. 

30. Story of South Africa. B. Worsfold. Empire Series. 
South Africa. Theal. Story of the Nations. 

31. Story of Australia. Flora Shaw. Empire Series. 

Admiral Arthur Phillip : the Founding of New South Wales. Builders of 

Greater Britain. 
History of the Australasian Colonies, Jenks. Cambridge Historical 


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teacher's appendix. 237 


32. History of Slavery and Serfdom^ Ingram. 

83. Modem Europe. Fyflfe. 

Lives of Wellington, as above. 
36. Austria, Story of the Nations. 
38. America, Doyle. Macmillan's Historical Series. 

United States of America, (1765-1865.) Channing. 

SkoH History of United States. J. McCarthy. 
43. Life of Watt. Smiles. 

Life of Stephenson. Smiles. 

Lives of the Engineers. Smiles. Vols. iv. and v. Steam-engines and 
44 and onwards — 

Lives of Napoleon and Wellington, as above. 

Modem Europe. Fyffe. 

Histtyry of Modem Europe. Dyer and Hassall. Vol. v. (1789-1815.) 

Vanity Fair. (Fiction.) Thackeray. 

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It is intended that the outline Map of the World at the end 
of the volume should be chalked, in colours, by the pupil as 
the discovery or colonisation of each new region is mentioned 
in the book. 


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This book is onder no oiroamttanoes to be 
taken from the Building 




f..riii -liu 


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THE N.i.;v/ . riRK 
PDB!.; ■.'„;-:.;.-.^ : 

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300 MB - 150 3M lao 30S 0O TS 

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